George Santos
George SantosReuters

Disgraced Long Island Republican Rep. George Santos told Piers Morgan on Monday that he had referred to himself in the past as “Jew-ish” as a “party-favor joke,” conceding that he was raised Catholic.

In an interview on Morgan’s TalkTV show, the host asked Santos to explain past claims he made that he was “Jewish, half-Jewish, a proud American Jew, a Latino Jew, and non-observant Jew.”

"I've always made this as a party-favor joke and I've done it on stages across the country," Santos said. "I would always say I was raised Catholic but I come from a Jewish family, so that makes me 'Jew-ish.'"

He doubled down on his claim that describing himself as “Jew-ish” was only a “party joke” and added: “Now that everyone's canceling me, everyone is pounding down for a pound of flesh."

"Because you're not Jewish," Morgan replied, raising his voice.

During the interview, which touched on the controversy surrounding his campaign and evidence he falsified many facts about himself, Santos admitted to lying on multiple fronts.

“I’ve been a terrible liar on those subjects, and what I tried to convey to the American people is, I made mistakes,” he said.

He also claimed that he had only made up biographical facts so that he could curry favor with senior GOP leaders in his district.

“It wasn’t about tricking people,” he said. “This was about getting accepted by the party here locally.”

Later in the interview, Morgan again questioned how Santos could justify lying about being Jewish. Santos replied that he never claimed to be Jewish. But reporting by Jewish media showed that Santos had lied about being of Jewish descent and having grandparents who survived the Holocaust.

"I would say that my grandparents are Jewish on my mother's side, so I am 'Jew-ish.' It was always a joke; people would laugh it up. I said it to a room with 1,000 people in November. People were hysterically laughing. It was funny to them, they loved it,” Santos said.

"I don't think Jewish people find it funny," Morgan shot back.

Santos replied that he was speaking to a roomful of Republican Jewish Coalition members when he cracked the joke.

But in December, the Republican Jewish Coalition banned then-incoming Rep. Santos for falsifying his resume and making misleading statements about having Jewish ancestry.

On Monday, Santos also claimed he had taken four DNA test to prove he had Jewish ancestry through his maternal grandparents. However, he said the results were not ready.

When Morgan asked Santos about genealogical records showing his grandparents were born in Brazil, including a report of family records prepared by CNN that also found no connection to Judaism, Santos doubled down on his claim that his grandfather was born in Ukraine and moved to Belgium where he met his grandmother in 1941. Santos alleged that from there, they fled the Holocaust to Brazil, at which point they utilized fake documents that listed their country of birth as Brazil.

Santos has faced mounting calls to resign since the controversy surrounding his background began late last year. He is also facing investigations from lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels.

Two months ago, the embattled rep. admitted to the New York Post that he was guilty of “embellishing my resume.”

In January, Santos, who has since recused himself form his House committee assignments, refused to resign and insisted he planned to run for re-election, saying he had “lived an honest life.” This despite being caught in multiple falsehoods about his ethnicity, ancestry, background and work experience, including identifying as Jewish and then claiming he had Jewish ancestry.

Earlier that week, Republican Party officials in Santos’ Long Island district had called on the serial fabricator to quit, citing among other lies his claims to Jewish and Holocaust heritage.

Not long after, a former roommate of Santos said in an interview that the Rep. used a fake Jewish-sounding last name in a GoFundMe campaign because he believed that “Jews give more.”