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Troubled Republican Santos faces fresh controversy over claim of “Jewish” heritage.

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By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – U.S. Representative-elect George Santos, a Republican from New York who this week admitted he lied about his education and work history as he ran for Congress, faced fresh criticism Tuesday over his heritage claims Jewish.

The Republican Jewish Coalition said Santos would not be welcome at the group’s future events after he deceived its members about his ties to their faith.

“He deceived us and misrepresented his legacy,” said Matt Brooks, the coalition’s chief executive. “In public comments and to us personally, he has previously claimed to be Jewish.”

The group released its statement a day after Santos told the New York Post that he “never claimed to be Jewish,” despite what the paper described as a message on his campaign website stating that his mother was Jewish and that his grandparents had fled the Nazis during World War II.

Santos has vowed to serve out his two-year term in Congress, and House Republican leaders have remained silent on the controversy. The office of House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy did not respond to a question seeking comment Tuesday.

“I’m Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had Jewish ancestry, I said I was ‘Jewish,'” Santos told the Post.

Santos, elected to represent parts of Queens and Long Island, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Two of his fellow Republican House entrants from New York — Nick LaLota and Anthony D’Esposito — said Long Island residents were upset by his statements.

LaLota called for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee “and, if necessary, the involvement of law enforcement agencies.”

“New Yorkers deserve the truth and House Republicans deserve the opportunity to govern without this distraction,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

D’Esposito called on Santos to embrace the “spirit of sincerity” and “pursue a path of honesty.”

Santos insisted the controversy would not prevent him from succeeding as a legislator.

“My sins here are gracing my resume. I’m sorry,” Santos told the Post on Monday.

“I have not graduated from any higher education institution,” the paper quoted him as saying. He also told the Post that he has “never worked directly” for Goldman and Citigroup, calling those statements a “poor choice of words.”

Santos denied that the New York Times reported he was charged with fraud in Brazil after he was caught writing checks with a stolen checkbook. “I am not a criminal here, here or in Brazil or in any jurisdiction in the world,” Santos told the Post.

In November, Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman to win election to Congress from a New York district represented by Democrat Tom Suozzi, who ran for governor this year.

On Tuesday, Zimmerman called on Santos to step down and face him in a special election.

“Confront voters with your true past and answer questions about your criminal history,” the Democrat wrote on Twitter. “Let the voters decide.”

(Reporting by David MorganEditing by Colleen Jenkins and Alistair Bell)

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