(NewsNation) — Newly elected Republican Congressman George Santos admitted he lied about his life story but is committed to serving his term regardless.
Santos won the New York district that includes some Long Island suburbs and a small part of Queens.
When The New York Times first published its article suggesting Santos lied about his life story and work history, Santos’ legal team said in response the Times was trying to smear his name with defamatory allegations.
Santos is the first Latino and openly gay Republican elected to Congress. His resume was impressive. Santos claimed he attended both NYU and Baruch College, and that he worked as an investor at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
But neither school has any record of Santos ever attending and both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup say they couldn’t confirm he ever worked there.
On Monday, Santos confessed in an interview with the New York Post that he lied and embellished parts of his resume, including where he went to school.
“I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume, I own up to that. We do stupid things in life,” Santos said.
In a radio interview, Santos insisted he was not a fraud.
“I’m not a fraud, I’m not a criminal who defrauded the entire country and made up this fictional character and ran for congress. I`ve been around a long time. A lot of people know me. Know who I am. They have done business with me.”
Santos also claimed his grandparents were Jewish and survived the Holocaust. A Jewish publication called The Forward said it’s not true, and some members of the Jewish community have demanded Santos resign.
“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos told the New York Post. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”
The Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement in response, saying, “We are very disappointed in Congressman-elect Santos. He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage. In public comments and to us personally he previously claimed to be Jewish. He has begun his tenure in Congress on a very wrong note. He will not be welcome at any future RJC event.”
Some Democrats have also said Santos should resign, but Santos has made it clear he has no plans on doing so and intends on being sworn into office.
Santos’ sexuality has also been called into question. He says he is openly gay and married with a husband, but was also married to a woman previously. They were married for five years, and the marriage ended about a week and a half before Santos launched his first run for Congress in 2020, which he lost.
Santos says he is now a happily married gay man.
Santos cannot be forced to resign, because legally speaking he has done nothing wrong. But he did lie to voters and while that may not mean much at the moment, it could impact his campaign if he runs for reelection when his term is up.
Some advocacy groups have called for a Congressional ethics investigation, but most believe he will be sanctioned but not removed from office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.