Freshman Rep. George Santos, who has come under fire from fellow Republicans for claims he made about himself on his resume, said Thursday he'd resign, "if 142 people" ask him to step down, but minutes later correct his initial statement and said he really meant 142,000 people.
His slip-up, reported by NBC News and other outlets sparked even more calls for him to step down, reports The New York Daily News.
NBC had noted that even though the embattled congressman, who is facing calls to resign after admitting he fabricated several parts of his resume, has said repeatedly this week that he won't step down, he responded to the network that "if 142 people ask for me to resign, I will resign."
NBC said in its report it was possible that Santos, who commented while getting into a Capitol Hill elevator, was referring to the 142,000 votes he got while defeating Democrat Robert Zimmerman in the November midterm election for New York's 3rd Congressional District.
Santos also on Thursday told Rep. Matt Gaetz, R, Fla., on Steve Bannon's podcast that "I’ve lived an honest life" and that he has "never been accused of doing bad things," the Daily News reported.
The controversy surrounding Santos grew even wider Thursday with a New York Times report that he had allegedly skirted federal campaign finance laws through the use of an unregistered company to solicit big money donations, which told donors it was only focused on helping Santos win election to Congress.
Santos' comments on the number of people it would take to get him to step down come as more Republicans have called for him to resign, including top officials from the Nassau County GOP, representing his district, who in a Wednesday press conference said he needs to step down.
The congressman, after his election, has been caught embellishing or fabricating parts of his background, including claims on his education, religion, sports experience playing volleyball, jobs, and about his mother in connection with 9/11.
Fellow freshman Rep. Brandon Williams, also a New York Republican, told Newsmax Thursday that he thinks Santos "needs to return to private life, get all this sorted out and, you know, frankly, get rid of the distraction."
"I don't think there's any way he can possibly perform his duties, and the man's got to be honest with himself and his constituents," Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., told NBC News, and Rep. Mark Lawler, R-N.Y., said that Santos has "lost the confidence of people."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., though, is saying he's not joining in the calls to get Santos to quit, noting that the voters have elected him.
"If there is a concern, he has to go through the Ethics (Committee); let him move through that. But right now, the voters have a voice in the decision. It's not where people pick and choose based upon what somebody's press has. So he will continue to serve."
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