The silence is deafening.
Following allegations levied by a New York Times investigative report against Republican Congressman-elect George Santos, most GOP leaders in Queens have remained mum on the scandal — with only a few exceptions.
The Times’ bombshell report published Monday exposed the Republican congressman-elect as an alleged fraud who lied to voters about his education, his career and even his charitable contributions.
Santos’ supposed background working at Wall Street firms like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs contributed, at least in part, to his victory in the third Congressional election last November over Democratic nominee Robert Zimmerman. However, according to the New York Times article, both firms stated they had no record of his employment.
In addition to potentially lying about his work experience, Santos is also accused of falsifying his educational background. He claimed to have graduated from Baruch College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance. According to the New York Times article, the university stated it had no record of him graduating at that time.
Santos has yet to respond to the allegations, but took to Twitter on Tuesday, saying he has his “story to tell” next week.
To the people of #NY03 I have my story to tell and it will be told next week. I want to assure everyone that I will address your questions and that I remain committed to deliver the results I campaigned on; Public safety, Inflation, Education & more.
Happy Holidays to all!
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) December 22, 2022
A growing number of politicians have called for Santos to resign and/or be investigated regarding his finances and campaign activity amid the accusations.
But some want to hear from Santos himself and get an explanation, including Republican Queens Councilwoman Vickie Paladino.
“We heard about this from the news like everyone else,” Paladino told QNS. “We look forward to additional statements from the Congressman-elect himself and any investigations that may follow.”
Republican Councilwoman Joann Ariola, former head of the Queens County Republican Party, released a statement to QNS through a spokesperson shortly after the article made headlines.
In the statement, Ariola appeared to distance herself from Santos.
“The councilwoman came to know George Santos in 2019, when he was a failed insurgent candidate running for state committee against the current GOP Chairman, Anthony Nunziato,” a spokesperson for Ariola told QNS. “The next year she was aware that he enjoyed the support of the Nassau and Suffolk Republican Committees during his failed 2020 candidacy for Congressional District 3 and most recently when he successfully ran for the same seat. She does not know him well enough to have personally recommended him regarding this or prior candidacies.”
In a phone call with QNS, Nunziato told QNS he would be releasing a statement, but has yet to do so.
While Paladino and Ariola offered statements on the record, other Republican leaders in Queens have failed to do so.
QNS reached out to several Republican clubs in the borough several times seeking comment on the allegations against Santos. However, most of these calls went unanswered and voicemails have not been returned. The few who did pick up told QNS that they were not willing to comment at this time.
QNS will continue its efforts to obtain comment from the borough’s Republican leaders.
Somehow, up until this week, Santos evaded all vetting by the media and by the Republican Party — squeaking by his Democratic challenger Robert Zimmerman in November thanks to a surge of Republican support in Queens and on Long Island.
But now that Santos’ record is in serious doubt, the fact that many local Republicans would rather not speak about the situation, or withhold their own judgments pending further information, speaks volumes itself.