Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Sunday that Rep.-elect George Santos should consider resigning after admitting he fabricated and “embellished” various claims about his background related to his education and employment history.
Santos, who made history in LGBTQ politics when he won the November election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, will be sworn in Tuesday when the new Congress begins. Despite growing calls from Democrats and some Republican officials for Santos to resign or not be sworn in, the House Republican leadership has remained silent on the matter.
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Brady, who is retiring from Congress, said Santos would need to “take big steps” to win back the public’s trust.
“This is concerning in many ways. Certainly, he has lied repeatedly,” Brady said. “He will certainly have to consider resigning.”
Still, Brady said, Santos could redeem himself by owning up to his mistakes.
“We are a country of second chances,” Brady said. “And when you acknowledge this, then you do whatever it takes to earn respect and trust again, you know, we’re willing to do that. So I’m hopeful that he chooses the right path.”
Brady said the decision on Santos’ resignation is something that “must be made between him and the voters who elected him.”
Santos’s admission came after The New York Times published a bomb investigation last month that he said he could not substantiate many of Santos’ alleged qualifications, such as that he had worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and graduated from Baruch College.
Federal prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into Santos for his campaign in Congress. Two sources confirmed to NBC News last week that prosecutors are looking into Santos’s finances, including possible improprieties related to financial disclosures and loans he made to his campaign while he was running for Congress. NBC previously reported that the investigation, which a spokesperson for prosecutors declined to comment on, has yet to focus on any allegations of wrongdoing.
Santos is also under investigation by the Nassau County District Attorney. While the focus of that investigation is unclear, District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, a Republican, said in a statement Wednesday that the “numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-elect Santos are impressive.”
“No one is above the law and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute,” Donnelly said.
The New York Attorney General’s Office also said it was “investigating a number of matters” related to Santos, but did not confirm whether it had opened an official investigation.
A representative for Santos did not previously respond to NBC News’ request for comment on the inquiries, and his campaign did not immediately respond to Brady’s comments.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minnesota, the outgoing chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, have ignored reporters’ questions about Santos and whether he should be sitting.
Santos previously tweeted that he was backing McCarthy’s candidacy to be a speaker amid a leadership fight within the House Republican Party, which will have only a slim majority in the next Congress.