George Santos to resign from House committees over biographical lies


Rep. George Santos (RN.Y.) told House Republicans on Tuesday that he will temporarily step down from his committee duties amid multiple investigations into his campaign finance after he lied about key aspects of his resume.

Santos, who admitted fabricating details about his education, work, religion and heritage since his elections in November, told a closed-door meeting of House Republicans that he would step down from his duties on the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

The temporary withdrawal from the commissions marks Santos’ first major concession after weeks of maintaining steadfast resistance to any repercussions for his fabrications.

Santos told the meeting he would step down because “he’s a distraction,” according to a Republican lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. The conversation comes one day after Santos met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

House Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams (R-Tex.) said he understood the withdrawal was temporary until Santos was cleared of the ongoing investigations. The 34-year-old freshman Republican faces increased scrutiny, including a a federal investigation into his campaign finances and local investigation into the fabrications of his autobiographyafter revealing his misconceptions about his background, personal life and education.

“It surprised me, but it was probably the right decision,” Williams said.

“Without the ethics investigation being completed, I think this is the right decision,” said Congressman Michael Lawler (R-N.Y.), who also called for Santos’ resignation.

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Leaving the meeting, Santos declined to comment, saying: “I think you have to talk to management if you want details related to the commissions.”

The announcement comes on the same day that polls in his district showed an overwhelming majority of voters believe he should resign. More than three-quarters of registered voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District said he should quit his job, Newsday-Siena College Poll found.

Santos has given no indication that he plans to voluntarily give up his seat.

Republicans in his Long Island-based district and several House GOP members have called on Santos to resign. However, McCarthy, who has a razor-thin majority of the Republican Party, rejected these calls. Republican leadership has avoided reprimanding Santos, and others have stopped calling for his resignation.

Asked if she regretted supporting Santos after the news that he had stepped down from committees, Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) said voters chose to elect him.

“This process will play itself out,” the third-ranking House Republican said Tuesday. “But ultimately the voters will make that decision.”

Democratic leaders, who have repeatedly called for Santos to resign, questioned the latest confiscation by Santos and the Republican response.

“I’m just blown away by the chaos, the confusion, the dysfunction at the Republican conference,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.). “They defended his inclusion in committees, and now they are announcing that he will not participate in a committee. So I just don’t understand what the play of the day is.”

Santos’ move comes as McCarthy struggles to secure the GOP votes to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The speaker is determined to follow through on a years-old promise after Democrats kicked two Republicans — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) and Paul A. Gosar (R-Arizon) — off the committees for authorizing political violence against Democrats on social media media.

McCarthy said he wanted to remove Omar from the committee because of “repeated anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks,” a reference to her using an anti-Semitic trope and comparing the actions of the United States with those of terrorist groupswhich she later clarified by saying, “I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

But McCarthy faced opposition from Republicans Victoria Spartz (Indiana), Ken Buck (Colorado) and Nancy Mays (South Carolina). Republicans have a slim majority, allowing them to lose just four votes to pass something. That margin has narrowed to three as Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) recovers at home from traumatic fall in which he was injured.

John Wagner contributed to this report.

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