Following Rep. George Santos’ resignation from two House committee assignments, protesters shared their dissatisfaction with fiery chants of “Santos step down,” on Feb. 1, a call for him to resign from Congress. The large group who gathered outside the embattled congressman’s office in Douglaston, Queens said they want Santos held accountable for misleading his constituents on his resume and lying about his Jewish heritage. According to a Newsday/Sienna College poll, 80 percent of his constituents want Santos to resign.
Progressive partners, including Working Families Party and Make the Road New York, hand-delivered a petition with hundreds of signatures outside the congressman’s office demanding he step down. A MoveOn.org petition has also been circulating on social media calling for Santos to resign or be expelled by Congress. As of press time, the online petition had more than 1,000 signatures.
Kelsey Herbert, campaign director with MoveOn.org, a web-based public policy advocacy group, said the organization will continue to fight against Santos remaining in office. They will organize in Santos’ district, the third, which includes the North Shore, and other districts across New York in preparation for the 2024 election season.
“We know that George Santos is not just a problem for this district, but a problem that shows where the Republican Party is willing to go to strip away our freedoms and degrade our democratic institutions.” Herbert said at the rally.
Joe Sackman, co-chair of the Working Families Party of Nassau County, who ran unsuccessfully for Assembly in 2020, said he thinks if protesters continue to pressure Santos and the GOP, he may resign.
“I think it's not as likely if we don't do anything, so we have to take action,” he said. “We can't just wait on them to decide it's time for him to go, we have to keep pushing for it.”
Sackman wasn’t surprised about the falsehoods surrounding Santos, saying he never felt anything Santos said came from a place of truth. Sackman is worried the current political system isn't working for citizens and that it only benefits the wealthy. Hurdles, such as super PACs, makes it extremely difficult to get genuine working-class candidates into office.
“It was kind of obvious,” Sackman said.” “Just the support that he had of Trump, the insurrectionists the white nationalists, just fascists within the GOP, suggests that he's not going to do any good for us.”
Lisa Tyson, executive director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, said she’s extremely disgusted with Santos falsehoods, especially his claim of Jewish heritage. Tyson said her grandfather was a prisoner of a German concentration camp and believes that Santos’ falsehoods indicate traits of narcissism.
“He makes up all these stories, he probably thinks everything is wonderful and he's going to weather the storm,” she said. “He's going to continue working with the crazies in MAGA in the Republican Party, so it's gonna be up to the rest of us to kick him out.”
Tyson speculates that Santos’ resignation from two committees means he's getting some kind of pressure from Republican members of Congress even if they do need his vote to keep the majority in the house. Circulating petitions and recent polls will have more consequences for Santos, she said, even if it doesn’t mean his full resignation from Congress.
“They're trying to save face and there’s going to be a lot of political maneuvering happening right now,” Tyson said.
Charles Robbins a constituent from District 3 said that he is concerned for his children and grandchildren who also live in Santos’ district. He’s worried that the controversy surrounding the congressman doesn’t truly represent the United States and its voting process.
“I just think that we need to be in a country where truth and honesty matter,” he said. “If I or other constituents lied on our job applications or our financial disclosure forms, we will be fired and or in jail. Why should one of the highest offices in the land have a different set of rules?”
Herbert said although she was able to hand deliver the signatures from MoveOn.org to Santos’ Queens office she was not allowed to enter. And no one spoke to her.
“I think it's extremely poor and shows exactly where his priorities are and it is definitely not on his constituents,” Herbert said.