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Constituents sound off about Rep.-elect Santos, who is under investigation

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

New York Representative-elect George Santos is facing mounting investigations from state and local prosecutors. He's slated to be sworn in next week but has admitted to misleading the public about much of his life story. His behavior has outraged a lot of people in his district, which includes Long Island and parts of Queens. Here's NPR's Jasmine Garsd.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: The list of lies Santos told constituents about himself goes on and on - that he got a degree from Baruch College, that he lost several employees in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida in 2016, that he's Jewish, and his family escaped the Holocaust. That one hit especially hard here among some in Manhasset, Long Island.

KELLY SKLAR: Think you used a very serious issue to try and garner votes in an area that has a high Jewish population.

GARSD: Kelly Sklar votes Democrat. She says she's put off by all the misleading information Santos gave, but...

SKLAR: Lying about being a relative or distant Holocaust survivor in a time with anti-Semitism raging - that, I think, is even worse.

GARSD: He recently addressed the many inconsistencies in his biography on Fox News.

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GEORGE SANTOS: I made a mistake. And I think humans are flawed, and we all make mistakes.

GARSD: In his campaign, Santos touted himself as a gay Latino Republican. He also said he came from a humble background. He now says he's trying to clear the air before taking his seat in Congress. But those mistakes, as he's described them, might be very serious. There are now several investigations into whether Santos broke any laws.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Don't seat Santos. Don't seat Santos. Don't seat Santos.

GARSD: Don't seat Santos was the battle cry at a rally in Mineola, part of Santos' soon-to-be congressional district. Local Republican leadership has condemned Santos' behavior, but there's not yet been a call for resignation. Even among local Republican voters, there's a lot of displeasure. Here's Long Island resident Fran Sabatino.

FRAN SABATINO: I love that he's a Republican and that, you know, his being there will be - give the Republicans an edge. But I do not like what he did.

GARSD: Sabatino says she's disappointed.

SABATINO: I'd be very hard-pressed to vote for him again. And yet I would hate to vote for the Democrat. So, you know...

GARSD: So you're kind of in between a rock and a hard place.

SABATINO: I am. Exactly, honey. Exactly.

GARSD: For Kelly Sklar, there's no confusion about what needs to happen next.

SKLAR: I think we need to have a revote. He ran on a platform that isn't true. He lied.

GARSD: Those lies are now under scrutiny by federal, state and local prosecutors, who are investigating whether Santos broke any laws.

Jasmine Garsd, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF FAZER'S "GLOW, GLOW") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.