February 6, 2023

Rep. Richie Torres (D-NY) forcefully denounced his fellow New York lawmaker, Rep. George Santos (R-NY), in a Tuesday NBC News op-ed, calling him a “danger to our democracy and national security.” And though a handful of Republicans had “the courage to denounce him publicly and demand his overdue resignation,” Torres argued, the resistance from the vast majority of national-level GOP lawmakers is based simply on math: Losing George Santos would mean an even slimmer margin of control in the House.

“The right’s acceptance of Santos is a function of power politics rather than ethics: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy needs every vote he can get, and he needs George Santos to remain in power,” Torres wrote. “Simply put, House Republican leadership is in no rush to drain the Santos swamp.”

A resignation from Santos could mean a special election in a district that Democrats have won in previous cycles, and, even with a newly drawn 2022 map that cut into Democrats’ control, are still favored to win. If Democrats gain another seat, it would mean a slimmer majority for congressional Republicans and one less vote for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as he rolls out his agenda items.

Last Wednesday, McCarthy shrugged off New York Republicans’ calls for Santos to resign, saying, “a lot of people here in the Senate and others” also fabricated part of their resumes.

Torres’ op-ed comes as calls mount from lawmakers urging Santos to resign. Santos has admitted to lying on his resume but, as Torres writes, his lies go beyond just his credentials. 

“By his own admission, Santos rose to elected office by lying to voters about almost every facet of his personal and professional life — including his family heritage, education, professional experience, business dealings, philanthropic endeavors and campaign finances,” Torres said.

Santos is currently facing investigations by both local prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“Under normal circumstances, the depth and breadth of his deception would shame one into resigning from public office,” Torres added. “But these are not normal times, and Santos is shameless not only in lying but in lying about his lying.” 

That is a reference to Santos’s recent appearance on Steve Bannon’s conspiracy theory show “The War Room,” where Santos assured Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that he has lived an “honest life” and “never been accused of any bad doings.” 

“Never mind all the lies Santos has told and the multiple criminal investigations accusing him of wrongdoing,” Torres wrote. “Every American should worry about the risk of Santos having access to classified information — and what he might do with it. The presence of this man in Congress is a danger to our democracy and national security, a disgrace to this institution, and a major distraction from the pressing problems that are far more worthy of our time, energy and attention.”

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