Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) shown on Capitol Hill last Wednesday.

Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) shown on Capitol Hill last Wednesday. Credit: AP/Patrick Semansky

WASHINGTON — Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) has declined an invitation to join other first-term lawmakers in a meeting Tuesday with President Joe Biden at the White House, according to Santos' office.

All congressional freshmen were invited to the event, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced Monday.

Asked by reporters whether the invite list included Santos, Jean-Pierre reiterated that all new lawmakers were invited, although she had no “confirmation on who is attending at this time."

Reached by Newsday, Santos’ office said he would not be attending.

Santos, who has admitted fabricating significant parts of his educational and professional background, faces several probes into his campaign and personal finances.

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) is expected to attend the meeting with Biden, his spokesman Matthew Capp said.

D’Esposito, who beat Democrat Laura Gillen for the seat held previously held by Democrat Kathleen Rice, of Garden City, is among 18 House Republicans elected last year who flipped congressional districts Biden had won in 2020.

Santos flipped a longtime Democratic district, defeating public relations executive Robert Zimmerman for the seat formerly held by Tom Suozzi, a Glen Cove Democrat.

Capp said, D’Esposito “has many priorities he’d like to discuss with the President.”

Among them, Capp said in an email, is repeal of the cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes, known as SALT, "and finding avenues of opportunity for the federal government to help enhance infrastructure on Long Island.”

Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) said in a statement Tuesday he had turned down the White House invitation "out of protest" for COVID-19 protocols the White House has kept in place for those attending events with the president.

Guests attending events at the White House must be tested for the virus beforehand and must attest to vaccination. Those who are unvaccinated must follow masking and social distancing requirements.

“The time for arbitrary and unscientific pandemic protocols should be far behind us and I am forgoing a historic trip to the White House to raise awareness of this punitive policy in hopes that President Biden will reverse it and other arbitrary, outdated, and unscientific restrictions across the federal system," LaLota said.

Asked about LaLota's statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday: "We have protections in place to protect staff and the President of the United States. COVID isn't over."

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