George Santos is heading to Washington in January to represent a congressional district that spans parts of Queens and Nassau County. The first openly gay Republican elected to Congress, Santos beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman in what was believed to be the first general election congressional race between two openly gay candidates.
Despite some Republicans opposing gay marriage and discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms, Santos told Errol Louis on "Inside City Hall" he will be able to work with his colleagues and help educate them "that it's not about ostracizing the gay community, it's about respecting one another."
The Queens resident pointed to 47 Republicans, of 211 total, voting to protect same-sex marriage over the summer as evidence his party is moving in the right direction on LGBTQ issues. He also noted Republicans nominated him to run for Congress the last two cycles, knowing he was gay.
"This isn't a matter of cultural or religious issue, it's a matter of freedom, freedom for all," Santos said. "And that means the gay and lesbian community at large, as well."
Attendance on Jan. 6
Santos attended President Donald Trump's speech outside the White House on Jan. 6, 2021.
"I was invited. I thought it was one of those historic moments, you know, the Gettysburg speech — not comparing them, I'm just saying that was a historic moment. Many people attended it," Santos said. "It's very unfortunate the way that the day went on to proceed and, as I called it at the time, one of the darkest days in our modern history."
Santos did call the events of Jan. 6 "a sad and dark day in our history" in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, but later said Trump “was at his full awesomeness that day” in an interview with Lara Trump, who is married to Donald Trump’s son Eric.
In June, a Democratic activist recorded Santos saying he “wrote a nice check to a law firm to see if we could help some of them out. Don't want to publicize it, but I'm pretty adamant about that."
"Imagine breaking into your own house and being charged with trespassing," he added.
On Tuesday, Santos said those who broke windows and participated in violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 should "be held responsible," but called on the U.S. Department of Justice to provide defendants fair trials.
He also said he believed President Joe Biden was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election.
As for efforts by congressional Republicans to vote against the certification of the electoral college results from certain states, Santos falsely stated "there were a far larger number of Democrats" who objected to electoral college certifications in 2017 than Republicans who objected in 2021.
According to congressional records, seven House Democrats objected to electoral college results in some form in 2017 after Trump's election, but because none of the objections were supported by a senator, none were voted on by both houses of Congress as a whole.
In 2021, even after the storming of the Capitol, two states — Arizona and Pennsylvania — had electoral college results rejected by both a member of the House and a senator, leading to full votes from each House member and each senator. Both votes failed, but a total of 121 House members and six senators voted against the certification of Arizona’s results, and a total of 138 House members and seven senators voted against the certification of Pennsylvania’s results. All of the no votes were by Republican members of Congress.
Four other House Republicans raised objections not supported by senators, in addition to the two that were.
Santos also discussed his focus on economic and public safety issues during the election, his background as the son of Brazilian immigrants, and the committee assignments he hopes to get when he joins the Republican majority in January.