Angry residents of New York’s Third Congressional District gathered Tuesday in Oyster Bay outside of Congressman-elect George Santos’ former campaign headquarters to condemn him of his numerous lies.
Santos, who at the time of his election was touted as the first openly gay, Jewish Latino Republican congressman ever elected, has faced mounting criticism from across the district and the nation following a bombshell article by The New York Times. The article, and dozens of subsequent stories in other papers, asserted that the congressman had lied about much of his background, from his supposed Jewish heritage to his business and educational history.
Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan called out Santos not just for his lies, but also for how they have made it impossible for him to ever serve the people of his district, and called on him to resign.
“This district cannot and will not accept an admitted liar in the House,” Lafazan asserted. “We are standing here unapologetic, categorical and loud, in saying this district will not accept George Santos as our member of Congress.”
In his speech, which took place the same day Santos was sworn into the House of Representatives, Lafazan also referred to Santos as “a fugitive,” in regards to outstanding criminal charges facing the Congressman in Rio de Janeiro. In 2008, Santos admitted to Brazilian courts that he had stolen a checkbook from an elderly man, his mother, a nurse, had been caring for.
Despite Santos’ denial of having been accused of any criminal charges, Brazilian prosecutors claimed they put the case on hold because they could not find Santos. Further research by the Times found he had fled Rio de Janeiro to work at Dish Network in Queens at the time.
Several district residents spoke during the press conference as well, expressing a wide range of emotion regarding their feelings for Santos. One of the major complaints came from Jonathan Rudes of Woodbury, who raised concerns over Santos’ financial dealings as well.
“We deserve someone who’s going to represent us fairly and appropriately, and it’s certainly not George Santos,” Rudes said. “And the big question I have is where did the money come from? Show me the money.”
Santos’ campaign and personal finances have been the subject of intense scrutiny in the last few weeks, as he went from making roughly $50,000 a year in 2020 to having a net worth of between $2 million to $11 million. There are at least four investigations opened at the county, state and federal level into Santos and his finances in the last few weeks.
During his campaign, Santos spent money on everything from flights, hotels and fine dining, even after loaning the campaign $700,000 of what is supposedly his own money. The newly sworn-in Congressman spent $40,000 on air travel alone, which political experts from many news networks assert is more in line with a party leader’s expenses than those of a first-time House member.
Ravin Chetram, vice president of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce, pointed out the flaws in the current political system that allowed the “Talented Mr. Santos” to beguile the district. Chetram asserted that Santos’ election shows a declining sense of honesty in politics in the United States today.
“Why are we here, begging Congress, pleading with them, to do the right thing?” Chetram continued. “At what point did we get to only thinking of power, instead of putting power into thinking?”
Chetram expressed disappointment in Congressman Kevin McCarthy and other Republican leaders in the House who have failed to condemn, or even address, the numerous and damning allegations against Santos. McCarthy is seeking to become Speaker of the House, and relying on Santos’ vote.
Lafazan ended the press conference with a promise to Santos,
“George Santos, when you take office, every single day in this district will be hell for you,” Lafazan said. “If you go through with this, believe me when I say you will be hearing from us.”