Santos told the meeting he would resign because “he’s a distraction,” said a Republican lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. The conversation comes one day after Santos met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.).
House Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams (R-Tex.) said he understood the withdrawal was temporary until Santos was cleared of ongoing investigations. The 34-year-old freshman Republican has come under increased scrutiny, including a federal investigation into his campaign finances and a local investigation into fabrications on his resume, which revealed he misrepresented his experience, personal life and education.
“It surprised me, but it was probably the right decision,” Williams said.
“Pending an ethics investigation, I think this is the right decision,” said Rep. Michael Lawler, R-N.Y., who also called for Santos’ resignation.
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Santos, who left the meeting, declined to comment, saying, “I think you should talk to management if you want details related to the committees.”
The announcement comes on the same day a poll in his district showed a large majority of voters believe he should resign. More than three-quarters of registered voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District said he should leave his job, a Newsday-Siena College poll found.
Santos has given no indication that he plans to voluntarily give up his seat.
Republicans in his Long Island-based district and several members of the House GOP have called on Santos to resign. But McCarthy, who holds the GOP majority, rejected those calls.
John Wagner contributed to this report.