Republican-elect Rep. George Santos of New York admitted in two separate interviews on Monday to lying on parts of his resume but claimed he had committed no crimes and intended to serve in Congress.
Santos has faced scrutiny over discrepancies in his employment and education history and other public statements he has made about his biography. In interviews with WABC radio and the New York Post — the first time Santos has spoken publicly about the controversy — he admitted he had fabricated some facts.
“I am not a criminal. Not here, not abroad, in any jurisdiction in the world, I have not committed any crime,” Santos said in an interview with WABC radio host John Catsimatidis.
“Come on, I’m not a liar. I’m not a criminal who scammed the entire country and made up this fictional character and ran for Congress. I’ve been around for a long time. I mean, a lot of people know me. They know who I am. They have done business with me,” he added.
“I’m not going to make excuses for this, but a lot of people exaggerate in their resumes, or distort a little bit. … I’m not saying I’m not guilty of that,” he said.
Santos also admitted that he never worked directly for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs Financial, as he previously claimed, but claimed he did work for them through his firm, telling the New York Post that it was a “bad word” to say he worked for They work.
He also told the Post that although he claimed to have degrees from Baruch College and New York University, he did not graduate from any college or university.
“I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher education. I’m embarrassed and sorry for embellishing my resume,” he told the Post, adding that he acknowledged this and that “we do stupid things in our lives.”
He told WABC, “I want to make sure that if I disappoint anyone with resume grooming, I’m sorry.”
The New York Times first revealed last week that Santos’ biography appears to be partially fictional. CNN confirmed details of the report, including his college education and work history.
CNN’s KFile also reported last week that Santos’ claim that his grandparents “survived the Holocaust” were Ukrainian Jewish refugees from Belgium had changed their surnames, unlike a family tree compiled by a genealogy website, Jewish refugees’ Sources, including records and interviews with multiple genealogists, contradict each other. An attorney for Santos declined to comment to CNN.
“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos told the Post. “I’m Catholic. I say I’m ‘Jewish’ because I know my mother’s family has a Jewish background.”
Santos had said he was “very proud” of his “Jewish heritage” during an appearance with Jewish News Syndicate in late November 2022.
CNN has reached out to House Republican leadership and the National Republican Congressional Committee after Santos identified himself. House Republican leadership was silent on last week’s revelations. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declined to answer questions from CNN on Thursday when asked if he was concerned about the apparent misrepresentation.
Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman in a newly drawn district that covers parts of Queens and some nearby Long Island suburbs, handing control to Republicans, who won a majority in the House of Representatives. In the process took control of the New York suburbs.
This is Santos’ second run — he’s lost to a Democrat in the House of Representatives. Tom Suozzi in 2020 – Much of the criticism he’s faced in his recent campaign has centered on his presence at a rally in Washington on January 6, 2021, with former President Donald Trump, and his appearance in a video Claiming to have written him a “nice check” to help accused rioters pay their legal bills.
This story has been updated with additional context.