Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said in an interview that the support in the district Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) represents is “cratering” by the day as the embattled first-term lawmaker is facing investigations into his deceit and campaign fundraising.
During an appearance on Fox Business’s “Kennedy,” Zeldin, who lost to incumbent New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in the state’s gubernatorial election in November, expressed frustration with the controversy surrounding Santos, describing Santos as “personable” and “charming” during interactions they had on the campaign trail.
“There were a lot of people who were genuinely supporting him, voting for him, volunteering for him,” Zeldin told Kennedy on Wednesday. “And they were just at this point crushed once the news came out, of what was true and what wasn’t true, and unfortunately a lot more has come out that was false than accurate.”
Zeldin also said more people who supported and voted for Santos are “upset” and “outraged” with the controversy surrounding the lawmaker than those who voted against him in the election, noting that Santos will have a difficult time during his tenure in Congress.
Santos, 34, defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman in New York’s 3rd Congressional District in November’s midterm elections.
“He’s going to have … an extremely difficult time, not just in Washington, D.C., and he pointed out that he just got seated on two different committees,” Zeldin added. “But especially back home, where there’s just cratering support by the day.”
Zeldin’s remarks come after several current and former New York-based lawmakers such as Rep. Ritchie Torres (D) and former Rep. Peter King (R) have called for Santos to resign.
Santos is currently facing a federal investigation over potential campaign finance violations and an investigation from Nassau County over his fabrications during his campaign.
Santos’s lies range from inventing his professional résumé as a Wall Street financier, claiming to be Jewish and have grandparents who escaped the Holocaust, claiming to have played volleyball for a university he did not attend and stating that he ran a charity that saved animals.
Despite the calls for his resignation, Santos has remained defiant. The House GOP leadership on Tuesday assigned him to two committees: the House Small Business Committee and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.