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George Santos scandal consumes Congress, chafes lawmakers on both sides of aisle

Tim Balk, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

Trailed constantly by shouting reporters, Rep. George Santos has become one of the most watched first-term congressmen in history.

The New York Republican's every word is parsed. His preppy sartorial selections are analyzed. Even the treats his staff leaves for journalists outside his office have carried news cycles.

Three weeks after Santos, a 34-year-old serial liar, was sworn into Congress to represent a section of Long Island and a sliver of eastern Queens, the circus around him has hardly diminished.

And bipartisan frustration is growing among many of Santos’ colleagues, who see him as an embarrassing distraction at best, and a danger to their institution at worst.

“Quite frankly, we’re sick and tired of being asked about him,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican, said in a statement, adding that “the focus should be on tackling inflation, securing our border and addressing crime.”

Malliotakis said Santos “does not have the trust of his colleagues.”


A majority of New York’s GOP delegation in the House has called on Santos to resign. But the congressman, whose fabrications first came under broad public scrutiny late last month, says he will not step down.

Republican leadership seems disinclined to push Santos out, given their party’s slim majority in the House and the risk that Democrats could flip his swing district in a hypothetical special election.

GOP leaders gave Santos seats on two House committees — the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee — a signal that they do not intend to excise him.

Early this month, Santos helped get Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California over the hump in his nail-biting, five-day bid to become House speaker.


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