WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep.-elect George Santos, R-N.Y., admitted Monday that he lied about his job experience and college education during his successful campaign for a seat in the U.S. House.
In an interview with the New York Post, Santos said: “My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry.”
He also told the newspaper: “I campaigned talking about the people’s concerns, not my resume” and added, “I intend to deliver on the promises I made during the campaign.”
The New York Times raised questions last week about the life story that Santos, 34, had presented during his campaign.
The Queens resident had said he had obtained a degree from Baruch College in New York, but the school said that couldn’t be confirmed.
On Monday, Santos acknowledged: “I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume.”
He added: “I own up to that. … We do stupid things in life.”
Santos had also said he had worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but neither company could find any records verifying that.
Santos told the Post he had “never worked directly” for either financial firm, saying he had used a “poor choice of words.”
He told the Post that Link Bridge, an investment company where he was a vice president, did business with both.
Another news outlet, the Jewish American site The Forward, had questioned a claim on Santos’ campaign website that his grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.”
“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos told the Post. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”
Santos first ran for Congress in 2020 and lost. He ran again in 2022 and won in the district that includes some Long Island suburbs and a small part of Queens.
Political leaders on both sides of the aisle are speaking out against Santos, demanding ethics and possible criminal investigations.
“If you were to ask me who in the next Congress has the greatest potential for corruption and criminality, I identify George Santos,” said. U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres.
In response to the controversy, Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Cairo said, “I am deeply disappointed in Mr. Santos, and I expected more than just a blanket apology. The damage that his lies have caused to many people, especially those who have been impacted by the Holocaust, are profound.”
Fellow Long Island Republican Congressman-Elect Nick LaLota said in a statement, “I believe a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee and, if necessary, law enforcement, is required. New Yorkers deserve the truth and House Republicans deserve an opportunity to govern without this distraction.”