US Rep. Santos says he won't resign, only leave if voted out in next election

George Santos, who lied about his educational, professional and religious background, promised to resign if 142 people asked but later rescinded the statement.

US Rep.-elect George Santos, a New York Republican, greets a colleague in the House Chamber during the fourth day of voting for Speaker of the House at the US Capitol Building on Jan. 06, 2023. (photo credit: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES)
US Rep.-elect George Santos, a New York Republican, greets a colleague in the House Chamber during the fourth day of voting for Speaker of the House at the US Capitol Building on Jan. 06, 2023.
(photo credit: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES)

George Santos said on Thursday he would vacate his seat only if he loses the next election, clarifying an earlier statement that he would resign if "142 people" asked him to because of a string of false claims he made about his work and personal background.

His initial remark about potentially bowing out came as he hurriedly exited his Capitol Hill office and entered an elevator on Thursday. "If 142 people ask for me to resign, I will resign," he said.

The first-term Republican congressman later clarified that he would only leave office if the more than 142,000 people who elected him in November vote him out in the next election in 2024.

"I was elected by 142,000 people. Until those same 142,000 people tell me they don't want me, we'll find out in two years," Santos said on a podcast, adding he would not bend to the demands of politicians and party leaders seeking his resignation.

Santos has repeatedly said he will not resign, even as pressure has grown within his own party for him to do so.

Incoming Rep. Santos, Rep. Gaetz and Rep. Boebert watch as U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy celebrates being elected the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in a late night 15th round of voting during the fourth session of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol. (credit: REUTERS/JON CHERRY)Incoming Rep. Santos, Rep. Gaetz and Rep. Boebert watch as U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy celebrates being elected the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in a late night 15th round of voting during the fourth session of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol. (credit: REUTERS/JON CHERRY)

On Wednesday, more than a dozen Republicans officials, many of them from Santos' New York City-area district, demanded the newly elected congressman's resignation. By Thursday, six of his fellow Republican representatives from New York had also joined the calls for him to resign

 "I will not resign. I will be continuing to hold my office elected by the people."

Santos

House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Thursday that he would leave Santos' fate up to the Ethics Committee and voters, echoing comments made the previous day.

 US REPRESENTATIVE-Elect George Santos appears in an undated still image from a political campaign video. (credit: George Santos campaign/Reuters) US REPRESENTATIVE-Elect George Santos appears in an undated still image from a political campaign video. (credit: George Santos campaign/Reuters)

On Wednesday, more than a dozen Republican officials, many of them from Santos' New York City-area district, demanded the newly elected congressman's resignation.

Santos' false claims

Santos has admitted to fabricating much of his resume, including that he holds degrees from New York University and Baruch College and that he had worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. He also claimed he was a Jew whose grandparents escaped the Nazis during World War Two.

"He's a complete and total fraud. Lied to the voters of the 3rd Congressional District in New York. Deceived and connived his way into Congress," House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, also from New York, told reporters.