Embattled New York Republican freshman George Santos is recusing himself from committee assignments as the national uproar over his campaign lies continues.
Santos has been in the media spotlight for weeks since his rags-to-riches campaign narrative was exposed as an elaborate fiction. He has since admitted to fabricating much of his biography and is facing a litany of investigations into his finances.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) said he met with Santos Monday and that he asked to be taken off the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee until he is "cleared" by a House Ethics investigation.
Santos could get his committees back depending on the results of the investigation, McCarthy hinted.
“I met with George Santos yesterday and I think it was an appropriate decision that until he could clear everything up he’s off of committees right now,” he said.
In a statement, Santos said he wants to focus on serving constituents in New York "without media fanfare."
"It is important that I primarily focus on serving the constituents of New York's Third Congressional District and providing federal level representation without distraction," he said.
Under intense media scrutiny and facing calls to resign from members of both parties, Santos has responded to the pressure with puckish defiance.
The Republican has been spotted dropping off Chick-fil-A and Dunkin' Donuts as treats for journalists who have been staking out his D.C. office, and he has categorically refused to step down.
Surprise 2.0 — George Santos brings chick-fil-a to his office. Does not respond to my questions about amended FEC filings. pic.twitter.com/D472jRRTgp
— Laura Figueroa Hernandez (@Laura_Figueroa) January 25, 2023
Some have warned that the relentless pressure on Santos could backfire.
"The constant coverage could turn him into a martyr," Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tn.) said.
Santos met with Republican colleagues at a closed-door meeting Tuesday where he asked for support in getting his committees back "when everything settles down," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) said.
Although most voters in Santos' Long Island district want him to resign, his defenders, including McCarthy, have said removing him from Congress would be undemocratic because he was chosen by constituents.
"The voters have elected him, they’ll have a voice here in Congress, until he answers all those questions then he’ll, at that time he’ll be able to be seated on committees," McCarthy said.