After facing weeks of allegations that he fabricated key details of his past and defrauded individuals, Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) has announced his decision to step down—at least temporarily—from his congressional committee assignments.
Santos informed his Republican House colleagues of his decision to temporarily recuse himself from his committee assignments, during a closed-door meeting today. Santos told his colleagues he wanted to step down for the time being while he works to clear up a series of allegations that have arisen in recent weeks.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he felt Santos had made the “appropriate decision.”
The freshman congressman has been accused of fabricating numerous details about his family background, education and work history. Santos had claimed on his biography that he had obtained “degrees in finance and economics” from Baruch College and New York University, and had worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
In December, Santos admitted to some “resume embellishments,” confessing he hadn’t graduated from Baruch College or any college for that matter. Santos said he also overstated that he worked for two Wall Street firms and said he instead worked for a company called Link Bridge, which did business with both firms. Santos also admitted to lying about owning 13 different properties.
Santos faced other allegations including that he had falsely said he was Jewish. In an interview with the New York Post Santos said he had “never claimed to be Jewish.”
Santos was also recently accused of defrauding a veteran who was trying to raise money for a surgical procedure for his dog. The veteran claimed he came into contact with Santos, who was going by the alias Anthony Devolder. The U.S. Navy veteran, Richard Osthoff, said Devolder set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding page for the medical procedure for the dog, but ultimately kept the money and cut off contact with the veteran, allowing the dog to die without the necessary medical treatment. Santos has entirely denied Osthoff’s claims, tweeting that “the reports that I would let a dog die is [sic] shocking & insane.”
Santos was assigned to the House Committee on Small Business and to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. McCarthy had given Santos those relatively low-profile assignments amid criticisms and calls for Santos to resign from Congress altogether.
Santos has repeatedly rejected calls for his resignation over his fabrications, including from members of his own party.
“George Santos’s campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies, and fabrication,” Joseph Cairo, chairman of the Nassau County GOP, said in a recent press conference.
New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy also said that “it would be in the best interest of the taxpayers to have new leadership” representing the district in Congress.
“I was hired by the voters and I will be fired by the voters, not by the Democrat Party or the Republican Party or the media,” Santos said in a recent interview.
Though he stepped down from his committee assignments on Tuesday, Santos remains committed to serving out his term.
McCarthy and some other Republicans reiterated that Santos could eventually return.
“The voters have elected him,” McCarthy told reporters after the Republican meeting on Tuesday. “He’ll have a voice here in Congress. And until he answers all those [ethics] questions, then at that time, he’ll be able to be seated on committees.”
Santos has argued that he is being held to a different standard than the one applied to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who made false claims that he served in the military in Vietnam during the war, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who embellished her Native American heritage.
Some Democrats have also vocally criticized Santos.
“I’m just struck by the chaos, confusion, dysfunction of the Republican Conference. They defended putting him on committees and now they’re announcing that he’s not going to serve on committees,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said on Tuesday.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said, “I also urge George Santos to listen to his Republican and Democratic constituents and also resign from Congress as well.”
NTD News reached out to Santos’ office for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
Reuters contributed to this article.