Scandal-hit gay congressman George Santos said he’d resign if 142,000 people ask him to
Republican congressman George Santos – who could face criminal charges after lying about his past – has indicated that he would resign if 142,000 people asked him to.
He later clarified, then retracted his comments, however.
The newly sworn-in New York lawmaker faced calls to quit after media investigations raised questions about a number of claims he made, forcing him to admit he “embellished” his education and employment history on his CV.
Authorities from Long Island, in New York, have since announced that they will investigate whether Santos crossed a line into criminality.
Santos’ most recent claim came while reporters questioned him as his walked into a lift, NBC News reported.
One reporter asked: “If the voters ask you to resign, will you?”
As the lift doors were closing, Santos responded: “If 142 people ask for me to resign, I’ll resign.”
Later, joined by Florida congressman Matt Gaetz on Steve Bannon’s podcast War Room, Santos clarified that he was referring to the 142,000 voters who backed him in the November election.
He said he would remain in Congress until “those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me”.
It follows Santos earning 53.8 per cent of the votes in the midterm elections for New York’s 3rd congressional district, beating his Democratic opponent Robert Zimmerman, who garnered 46.2 per cent. Both men are openly gay.
Following his remark, Reuters reported that Santos has retracted his claim and “will not resign”.
He added: “I will be continuing to hold my office, elected by the people.”
Santos’ rocky start has seen some of his fellow Republicans condemn him, with members of the Nassau County Republican Committee refusing to have him as their representative and declaring him unwelcome at the local party headquarters.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, of New York, challenged Republicans to “clean up your house” when asked about Santos during a weekly press conference.
Santos has also been criticised after he appeared to flash a white supremacist signal with his hand while casting his vote on the House floor on 5 January, prompting New York senator Anna M Kaplan to call for his resignation.
PinkNews has contacted Santos’ office for comment
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