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Santos, LaLota reject White House invitation

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Mary Altaffer/AP; J.D. Allen/WSHU
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Reps. George Santos and Nick LaLota (R-NY) from Long Island.

Two Long Island congressmen rejected a White House invitation to join other first-term lawmakers to meet with President Joe Biden on Tuesday

Reps. George Santos and Nick LaLota (R-NY) declined Biden’s request for differing reasons.

LaLota objected to the White House’s coronavirus protocols, requiring attendees to undergo COVID-19 testing 24 hours prior, or be forced to wear a mask and socially distance.

“The time for arbitrary and unscientific pandemic protocols should be far behind us and I am forgoing a historic trip to the White House to raise awareness of this punitive policy in hopes that President Biden will reverse it and other arbitrary, outdated, and unscientific restrictions across the federal system,” LaLota said in a statement.

Newsday reports Santos will also not attend.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced Monday that all congressional freshmen were invited to the event — even Santos, despite facing several investigations about possible campaign finance fraud and disclosure irregularities.

Although he admits to lying on his resume to get elected, Santos maintains no wrongdoing. Long Island Republicans, including LaLota, have called for him to resign.

Their freshman colleague, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), said he will attend and wants to discuss with Biden fully reinstating state and local tax deductions, known as SALT.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.