Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) said in a new interview that he did not think people would find out about his resume fabrications because he “got away with” the same falsehoods during his unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2020.
The admission came during a roughly 40-minute interview Santos did with television host Piers Morgan, released on Monday, during which Morgan pressed Santos on several statements he has made that have since come under intense scrutiny.
“To run for Congress of the United States and to just tell blatant lies about even your academic record — I’m just struck, not necessarily that a politician would lie, but that you would think no one would find out,” Morgan said to Santos on his program, “Piers Morgan Uncensored.”
“Well, I’ll humor you this,” Santos responded. “I ran in 2020 for the same exact seat for Congress and I got away with it then.”
“Fine,” Morgan said. “Well that’s honest, stupid. So you thought, actually, that they’re not gonna find out?”
“No, I didn’t think so,” Santos replied. “But to that effect, it’s embarrassing, it’s humbling to have to admit your faults as a human being.”
Santos ran for the House in New York’s 3rd Congressional District in 2020, but lost by a little more than 12 percentage points to then-Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), who clinched reelection. Two years later, however, Suozzi opted not to run and Santos won the seat by almost eight percentage points.
Santos has drawn widespread scrutiny since before he was sworn into office for fabricating parts of his background and submitting financial disclosure reports that have prompted questions. He has admitted to embellishing parts of his resume, again acknowledging some of those falsehoods on Monday, but the congressman has remained intent on serving out his term.
A number of lawmakers, hailing from both parties, have called on Santos to resign, and several entities are said to be looking into the legal repercussions of his actions.
During the interview, Santos told Morgan “I’ve been a terrible liar.” Specifically, the congressman said lying about his education — he claimed to be a graduate of Baruch College despite not attaining a college education — was “a very stupid decision that I regret every day.”
“I did not attain a college education,” Santos said at a separate part of the interview. “That, regrettably so, is one of my biggest regrets in life.”
Pressed on why he would lie about his education, the congressman pointed to “expectation on society” and “pressure.”
Remaining on the subject of his education, Morgan asked Santos about his resume saying he received a master’s in business from New York University with a GMAT score of 710.
The congressman said he is unsure of where the score came from, contending that he did not “supply” the resume.
“The reality is I don’t know where that GMAT comes from,” Santos said. “I never put that out on my website or my bio.”
“But you didn’t get a master’s in business?” Morgan pressed, to which Santos responded “no.”
“The resume was never furnished or supplied by me,” Santos said.
Asked who supplied it, Santos responded “I have no idea where that came from.”
“I didn’t supply it and nobody associated with me supplied it. That came from the GOP, and I’m still trying to understand where that came from,” he added.
During the conversation about Santos’s fabrications, the congressman acknowledged that his credibility has been chipped away at, and recognized the uphill climb he faces to repair it.
The realization came after Morgan discussed his perception of Santos’s trustworthiness.
“The problem you have, congressman, seems to me is that you admit to certain big lies, and then you deny other big lies, and the problem people have is they don’t know when you’re lying and when you’re telling the truth,” he said. “I’m not even sure now because how can I be?”
“Because you’ve claimed on campaign bios you went to this school and this volleyball team and achieved this degree, big Wall Street big hitter, and all these things turned out not to be true,” he continued. “So when you now look me in the eye and say well actually, no, this is true, I don’t know what to believe.”
Santos was optimistic in regaining his credibility.
“No, I understand, and look, that’s a position I’ve put myself in, right,” he said. “My credibility is what I’m gonna have a hard time and a long road to recover, and I stand clear and I stand certain that I’ll be able to do that.”
The congressman during the interview also noted that he has not heard from former President Trump, despite supporting his election fraud claims, and he said he has not met Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
As for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), who has stopped short of calling on Santos to resign, the New York Republican called him “a great leader for the Republican conference.”
Asked by Morgan if McCarthy thinks Santos should “carry on,” the lawmaker said, “I haven’t had that discussion with him.”