Hours before he was set to be sworn in, incoming Rep. George Santos (R-Queens/Nassau) ignored questions on Tuesday about the growing number of calls for him to resign. NewsdayTV’s Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

WASHINGTON — George Santos, under a cloud for his admitted fabrications about himself during his campaign, spent his first day in Congress Tuesday dodging reporters in the halls and finding himself largely avoided by other lawmakers in the House chamber.

In the hallways to and from his new office in the Longworth House Office Building, Santos and his aides scurried away from reporters, refusing to answer their shouted questions about falsehoods in his resume and what he had to say to the voters who elected him.

Santos, a Republican who will represent the 3rd Congressional District in Nassau County and Queens, did not answer questions from Newsday about the calls for him to resign and the multiple probes into his finances. He also did not respond to an interview request.

Though Santos ignored questions about the calls for him to resign, and the multiple probes into his finances, he did tell reporters he planned to support the bid by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to become House speaker.

In the House chamber, Santos did not stray far from a back-row aisle seat on the chamber’s Republican side or his plan.

He voted to make McCarthy the speaker in the first two roll call votes, prompting a Democrat to cry out after one of them “mentiroso” — Spanish for liar.

For the third vote, Santos stood alone in the back of the chamber and when the clerk read his name, he raised his hand and said “McCarthy” twice, then turned around and walked off the House floor into the cloakroom.

The House adjourned after that vote, pushing off a resolution to the Republican gridlock and the swearing-in of 75 new House members, including Santos, along with 359 returning lawmakers.

Santos, 34, admitted he lied about graduating from college, working for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, owning 13 properties and owing thousands of dollars in unpaid rent after a New York Times expose of his background.

In response, federal and local prosecutors have opened investigations into whether Santos committed crimes involving his finances and his campaign funds or made false statements.

Now, he faces a potential criminal investigation by Brazilian law enforcement authorities for allegedly stealing a checkbook and spending nearly $700 with it at a clothing store in Brazil in 2009, resulting in a criminal charge a court approved in 2011.

His notoriety trailed Santos into the chamber. A few members spoke with him. One showed him how to vote. But mostly, he kept to himself.

The three other members of the Long Island delegation — Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and new members Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) and Nicholas LaLota (R-Amityville) — stayed away from him, as they talked and laughed in the well of the chamber.

And Santos remained seated while Garbarino, D’Esposito and LaLota posed with McCarthy, the House Republican leader, for a photo in the heart of the House chamber.

LaLota has called for the House Ethics Committee to investigate Santos.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif) stopped by Santos' office seeking to meet the lawmaker-elect, but said he was "disappointed" to find the office door locked, with a stack of newspapers and mail in front of it.

"George Santos should absolutely resign," Lieu told Newsday. "You cannot make up your entire life and trick voters into voting for you, which is essentially what he did."

Santos was not spotted entering a House Republican caucus meeting in the Capitol basement, where lawmakers on hand were set to discuss McCarthy’s bid to become the next speaker of the House.

Standing in the hallway outside that conference meeting, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) held Santos responsible for his lying about his resume.

“At a minimum, he’s going to have to answer to that to his voters,” Gallagher said. “Clearly, he has demonstrated he doesn’t have a grasp on the truth or a certain level of integrity.”

WASHINGTON — George Santos, under a cloud for his admitted fabrications about himself during his campaign, spent his first day in Congress Tuesday dodging reporters in the halls and finding himself largely avoided by other lawmakers in the House chamber.

In the hallways to and from his new office in the Longworth House Office Building, Santos and his aides scurried away from reporters, refusing to answer their shouted questions about falsehoods in his resume and what he had to say to the voters who elected him.

Santos, a Republican who will represent the 3rd Congressional District in Nassau County and Queens, did not answer questions from Newsday about the calls for him to resign and the multiple probes into his finances. He also did not respond to an interview request.

Though Santos ignored questions about the calls for him to resign, and the multiple probes into his finances, he did tell reporters he planned to support the bid by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to become House speaker.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • George Santos spent his first day in Congress Tuesday dodging reporters and finding himself largely avoided by other lawmakers in the House chamber.
  • Santos, a Republican who will represent the 3rd District in Nassau and Queens, scurried away from reporters, refusing to answer shouted questions about falsehoods in his resume.
  • Santos' formal swearing-in was delayed after the House pushed off resolution of a Republican leadership fight.

In the House chamber, Santos did not stray far from a back-row aisle seat on the chamber’s Republican side or his plan.

He voted to make McCarthy the speaker in the first two roll call votes, prompting a Democrat to cry out after one of them “mentiroso” — Spanish for liar.

For the third vote, Santos stood alone in the back of the chamber and when the clerk read his name, he raised his hand and said “McCarthy” twice, then turned around and walked off the House floor into the cloakroom.

Newspapers and a framed photograph are placed at the office...

Newspapers and a framed photograph are placed at the office door of Representative-elect George Santos on Capitol Hill on Jan. 3, 2023. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

The House adjourned after that vote, pushing off a resolution to the Republican gridlock and the swearing-in of 75 new House members, including Santos, along with 359 returning lawmakers.

Santos, 34, admitted he lied about graduating from college, working for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, owning 13 properties and owing thousands of dollars in unpaid rent after a New York Times expose of his background.

In response, federal and local prosecutors have opened investigations into whether Santos committed crimes involving his finances and his campaign funds or made false statements.

Now, he faces a potential criminal investigation by Brazilian law enforcement authorities for allegedly stealing a checkbook and spending nearly $700 with it at a clothing store in Brazil in 2009, resulting in a criminal charge a court approved in 2011.

His notoriety trailed Santos into the chamber. A few members spoke with him. One showed him how to vote. But mostly, he kept to himself.

The three other members of the Long Island delegation — Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and new members Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) and Nicholas LaLota (R-Amityville) — stayed away from him, as they talked and laughed in the well of the chamber.

And Santos remained seated while Garbarino, D’Esposito and LaLota posed with McCarthy, the House Republican leader, for a photo in the heart of the House chamber.

LaLota has called for the House Ethics Committee to investigate Santos.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif) stopped by Santos' office seeking to meet the lawmaker-elect, but said he was "disappointed" to find the office door locked, with a stack of newspapers and mail in front of it.

"George Santos should absolutely resign," Lieu told Newsday. "You cannot make up your entire life and trick voters into voting for you, which is essentially what he did."

Santos was not spotted entering a House Republican caucus meeting in the Capitol basement, where lawmakers on hand were set to discuss McCarthy’s bid to become the next speaker of the House.

Standing in the hallway outside that conference meeting, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) held Santos responsible for his lying about his resume.

“At a minimum, he’s going to have to answer to that to his voters,” Gallagher said. “Clearly, he has demonstrated he doesn’t have a grasp on the truth or a certain level of integrity.”

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