New York Democratic Representative Ritchie Torres called out New York Republican Representative-elect George Santos for claiming to have been sworn in on his official congressional website despite it being impossible.
The chamber was forced to adjourn Tuesday after former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy lost three separate rounds of voting for Speaker of the House due to what The New York Times referred to as a "right-wing rebellion" designed to block him from the speakership.
Torres pointed out Santos—whose election on Long Island in November helped Republicans secure a slim majority in the House of Representatives—claimed to have been sworn in even though the House "has no Speaker, and no Congressman has been sworn in."
Torres described Santos' claim as his "first lie of the New Year."
The criticism from Torres is significant because last week Torres introduced the SANTOS Act to punish any members of Congress who lie under oath about their employment, military service or education.
Torres crafted the bill in response to the evolving scandal surrounding Santos, who is facing calls to resign after admitting to “embellishing” his résumé following an extensive investigation by The New York Times that exposed multiple lies he told about his life story.
The acronym SANTOS stands for Stop Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker, a stark rebuke of Santos as he's come under scrutiny.
Santos had earlier fessed up to at least some of his lies in an interview with The New York Post.
Santos told the Rupert Murdoch owned conservative tabloid he is “embarrassed” by his false and misleading statements but that he nonetheless believes he will be an “effective” House Republican in the new Congress even as questions remain about his education, work history, and even his source of income.
As more of Santos' lies continue to be exposed—subsequent New York Times investigations have exposed possible campaign finance violations due to suspicious expenditures listed on his campaign disclosures—Republicans have largely denounced him and Santos told New York GOP officials he does not plan to run for reelection in 2024.
Social media users condemned Santos' actions and have reiterated their calls for Santos to step down.
As the House grapples with a Republican revolt that a defiant McCarthy has vowed will not compel him to drop his bid for the speakership, it seemed pertinent that Santos did not join the members of the GOP who have instead coalesced around Ohio Representative Jim Jordan and voted for McCarthy.
But the acceptance by Republicans of Santos, observed journalist John Nichols in a piece for The Nation, "confirmed that a win-at-any-cost sensibility has now so fully infected the Republican Party that no sin is serious enough to earn a rebuke from its leading members."
The House will reconvene today to decide the fate of the coveted Speaker position and McCarthy has said he will force multiple votes if necessary in order to secure it. Only then will the new members of the 118th Congress be sworn in.