Matt Gaetz says George Santos shouldn’t be shunned before making his case

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz has come to defend embattled GOP Congressman George Santos and said he shouldn’t be shunned by peers amid a growing backlash over lies about his personal and professional background.

Santos was sworn in as a representative of New York’s 3rd congressional district last week in the US House of Representatives. But just months after flipping a Democrat-held seat in the House of Representatives, he is facing calls for his resignation amid multiple ethics complaints and a criminal investigation.

Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo called on Santos to step down on Wednesday, and several Republican lawmakers from New York have since joined the calls.

Santos has defied the demands, tweeting on Wednesday: “I was elected to serve the people of #NY03, not the party and politicians. I remain committed and regret to hear local officials are refusing to work with my office to deliver results protect our community and lower the cost of living. I will NOT resign!”

Speaking on CNN on Saturday, Gaetz told Michael Smerconish that Santos should be given an opportunity “to make his case.”

Santos “represents over 700,000 people in New York, and whether people like it or not, these people deserve members of Congress to work with the person who serves them, whether on financial issues or public safety issues,” said the congressman.

“And so George Santos has to go through the ethics process of Congress. I don’t want to prejudge that process, but I think he deserves the chance to at least make his case.”

Gaetz added that until that process is complete, Santos should not be shunned by other members of Congress.

“We’ll see how that process plays out, but until then I don’t think George Santos should be shunned because the Americans he serves deserve representation and have real challenges and we should work together to solve them.” challenge and meet their needs,” he said.

“It is up to the political process to resolve these things. He’s a congressman. He sat. And so I’m going to treat him as a colleague and he has to endure the process that goes through managing the behavior of the members.”

Gaetz also defended Santos while interviewing him about Steve Bannons war room podcast where he said that “beautifying your resume is not a crime. It’s honestly how many people come into Congress.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has stood by Santos but said concerns could be investigated by the House Ethics Committee.

“Voters voted for George Santos,” McCarthy told reporters Thursday. “If there are concerns, he will go through the ethics investigation. If something is found, he will be dealt with in this matter. But they have a voice in this process.”

news week has contacted Gaetz and Santos for further comments.

Matt Gaetz talks to George Santos
Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks with George Santos (R-NY) in the House of Representatives chamber on the second day of the House Speaker election at the US Capitol Building on January 04, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Matt Gaetz says George Santos shouldn’t be shunned before making his case

Rick Schindler

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