George Santos is an Example of Lying to Win
George Santos, a Republican who won in the midterms in a relatively moderate Long Island district, was part of the narrow victory for House Republicans after what can only be described as a failed midterm for the GOP. Republicans thought they were going to have a huge red wave. That wave did not materialize although the Republicans took back the House, gaining a narrow majority.
Santos’ victory came about in part because he was thought to be such a long shot that people in this district got complacent about voting. Many voters failed to show up to vote for the Democrat who was expected to win. There was a local article that exposed some of Santos’ lies but it was not widely read.
Only recently have his lies attracted the attention of the authorities. Santos’ fabrications about his family, his religion, his work history and where he got the money to run for office (going from a salary of $55,000 to suddenly have over $700,000.00 to “loan” to his campaign) are so far beyond “embellishment” that they have ignited investigations by the local district attorney and the justice department. Brazil, his country of origin, has re-opened an indictment that had been kept on hold because they lost track of his whereabouts. Now they know where he is.
Here is what Santos lied about:
On his campaign websites, Santos noted that his “grandparents fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.” His biography on his campaign website has since been changed.
Santos described himself as “a proud American Jew” in documents to pro-Israel groups. But six weeks after he was elected to office, he admitted to misleading voters about his cultural and religious background. Santos told The New York Post during a Dec. 26 interview that he “never claimed to be Jewish,” only “Jew-ish.” He said his grandmother told him she was Jewish but had converted to Catholicism.
The Forward looked into ancestral records, and found evidence that Santos’ maternal grandparents were born in Brazil before the Nazis rose to power in Europe.
Santos told the Post during the Dec. 26 interview that he never graduated from college, retracting previous statements claiming that he received a degree in economics and finance from CUNY’s Baruch College in 2010.
When he ran for Congress in 2019, Santos claimed on his campaign website that he graduated from the prestigious Horace Mann School in the Bronx. Ed Adler, a spokesman for the school, said officials there “checked all the records and all the aliases. He (Santos) did not attend Horace Mann.”
HIS WORK SUCCESS
On the campaign trail, Santos billed himself as a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor” and claimed he worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. But during the Post interview, the soon-to-be-lawmaker clarified that he “never worked directly” with either of the financial institutions.
Around the same time Santos claimed that he was working his way through the financial sector, a Times investigation shows that he was a customer service agent at a Dish Network call center in Queens.
HIS REAL ESTATE SUCCESS
Santos tweeted in February 2021 that he owned 13 rental properties where tenants had not paid rent for a year. “We worked hard to acquire these assets. Now it almost feels like we are being punished,” he wrote. But in the Post interview he admitted he does not own any real estate and lives at his sister Tiffany’s home in Huntington.
Santos’ tweet railing against his fictitious tenants came four years after he was evicted for at least the third time in Queens, according to housing records surfaced by The New York Times.
In court eviction records, he claimed to have been mugged in 2016 on his way to pay $2,250 in back rent on his Queens apartment. The NYPD says it has no record of the attack.
HIS MOTHER’S DEATH
As of at least October, Santos’ campaign website stated that his mother, Fatima Devolder, was “in her office in the south tower” of the World Trade Center on the day of the 9/11 attacks. The website stated “she survived the horrific events of that day, but unfortunately passed away a few years later.” An online obituary shows Santos’ mother passed away more than 15 years after 9/11, in December 2016.
January 18, 2023 UPDATE on Santos–more lies!
One day after receiving committee assignments, Rep. George Santos’ (R-N.Y.) spectacular web of lies appears to have expanded even further — raising new questions about how far is too far for GOP leadership:
- Two New Jersey veterans say Santos set up a GoFundMe for one of their sick dogs, raised $3,000 and then refused to hand over the money.(Patch; CNN)
- Santos has said his mother was inside the World Trade Center on 9/11, but immigration records indicate she wasn’t even in the U.S. on that day. (WaPo)
January 19, 2023. More comes out about Santos. He was a drag queen when he lived in Brazil.
A new report claims Rep. George Santos (R-NY) went by the name “Kitara” while he performed in drag during his youth in Brazil.
Santos reportedly used numerous aliases before he was elected to the House in November after campaigning on lies about his background. Santos is said to have used the name Anthony Devolder – an alias he is accused of using to allegedly swindle money from a fundraising campaign for a veteran’s sick dog.
According to reporter Marisa Kabas, Santos also used the first name Anthony during his youth in Brazil. Kabas reported the now-34-year-old also dressed in drag and used the name “Kitara.”
“NEW: I just spoke by phone with Eula Rochard, a Brazilian drag queen who was friends with George Santos when he lived near Rio,” Kabas tweeted Wednesday with a picture she said was of Santos from 15 years ago. “She said everyone knew him as Anthony (*never* George), or by his drag name, Kitara, and confirms this photo is from a 2008 drag show at Icaraí Beach.”
I conducted my interview with Eula along with a translator—a friend of mine from Brazil—so the responses I’m sharing are English translations from Portuguese. Eula says she met Santos when he was 16 or 17 years old and became friends because they were both gay and enjoyed drag.
Eula saw a story about Santos on Brazilian news and was sure was it was him. She shared the news with a group of friends and everyone doubted her. So she looked for an old picture to confirm, and she decided to post it to social media to prove to her friends that she was right.
HOW TRUMP SET THE BAR FOR DISINFORMATION
Santos thought he could get away with being a Trump mini-me. Like Trump, Santos lied about key elements of his background with a similar capacity to sound certain and self-assured while telling whoppers. Trump did it. Why not Santos?
There are interesting parallels when it comes to what Trump has lied about.
HE LIED ABOUT BEING RELIGIOUS
Trump lied about being religious. He was not, but he wanted the support of Evangelicals. Remember when he held up the bible upside down for a photo op? Remember how he could not think of his favorite passage in the bible? Remember 2 Corinthians?
HE LIED ABOUT BEING A GREAT STUDENT
Trump lied about his education portraying himself as a great student but his teachers at Wharton knew otherwise.
“Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.” Dr. Kelley said after Trump had become a celebrity but long before he was considered a political figure. Dr. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told of this — that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.
HE LIED ABOUT BEING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN
Trump lied about being a successful businessman when he was, in reality, a successful TV celebrity on The Apprentice and a successful con man and marketer who tried to make millions selling Trump steaks and getting people to sign up for Trump University (which was the subject of a lawsuit and settlement for damages that Trump paid to quiet the scandal), Trump loves to make money off of the rubes.
Now that Trump’s tax returns have been made public it has become clear that he lied to us about how rich and successful he was while he reported millions of dollars in losses every year: $105m in 2015, $73m in 2016, $45m in 2017, $23m in 2018. He offset his alleged losses with alleged income that allowed him to pay zero taxes or small amounts.
Trump was and still is a corrupt businessman instead
Trump also had bank accounts and suspect relationships with foreign entities that call into question decisions he made as president. What ever happened to the Emoluments Clause!? The IRS also failed to fully do their job when Trump was president. There were supposed to be conducting presidential audits but they didn’t. At least they didn’t until the House Ways and Means committee made its requests for Trump’s tax returns. Why did that failure happen? Here is the answer. Funding to the IRS was severely cut so there were far fewer agents left to investigate anyone. And Trump put his guy, Mnuchin, in as the head of the IRS. Do you think Trump exerted any influence over Mnuchin when it came to exposing his tax returns? Does a bear sleep in the woods?
Most recently Trump sold glorious, heroic, manly images of himself as an astronaut, a cowboy, a fireman etc. He sold these NFTs to the rubes at $99 an image. They sold out in one day, adding to Trump’s coffers. Are any of those images a true representation of Trump? It would have been more accurate for Trump to have NFTs of himself as a snake oil salesman, a card shark or a used car salesman.
TODAY’S REPUBLICAN PARTY IS DEEPLY CORRUPTED
The Republican Party leaders KNEW Santos was lying about his past before he was elected but they did nothing about it. They could have quietly urged him not to run and found someone else to run in that district instead, but they didn’t do that. Why? Is it because Santos has pledged to support McCarthy in his bid for leadership and Kevin McCarthy needed and still needs Santos to be a voting member of the House so he could gain the speakership and stay in power? McCarthy and other Republican leaders have been trying not to talk about Santos’ lies as they have done with Trump all along. McCarthy’s new House just passed rules changes that will prevent true oversight of themselves by hobbling the ethics committee. These are the same Republicans who have turned a blind eye to Trump’s 30,000 lies while in office, and supported the Big Lie when Trump lost. Lying is A-OK with the GOP
WHAT THE JANUARY 6TH REPORT EXPOSED ABOUT TRUMP’S LIES
Trump has become the poster boy for lying and cheating if it helps you get what you want. Trump reset the bar when it comes to massive lying to get the result you want and rigging elections to “win” when you lose: trying to create chaos to steal the 2020 presidential election from the rightful winner, end our democracy and bypass the rule of law. Trump is synonymous with the Big Lie.
The January 6th Report details how Trump and the Republicans plotted to keep Trump in office. There were 8 schemes to overthrow our free and fair election documented by the report and thousands of witness transcripts given under oath. Trump and the GOP got pretty close to getting their nearly bloodless coup.
If Santos can get away with the massive amount of lying he did and not face ethical repercussions from the GOP leaders in the House, it will underscore the fact that the Republicans have not learned their lesson from the midterms. To be a successful politician in today’s Republican Party you just need to find a way to win. Follow in Trump’s footsteps and tell a story that creates a mirage of success.
THE TRUMP APPROACH IS EATING AWAY AT THE GOP
If the GOP accepts cheats and lying liars it will not do well over time with voters. The midterm election was a rejection of most of the election denialists, a rejection of the Big Lie, and a rejection of the loss of freedom of choice (reaction to Dobbs). The American majority is sick and tired of Trump and his lying ways. Americans are ready to move on.
Trump is still, however, the current leader of the GOP because no one has figured out a way to successfully challenge him yet. Republicans are probably hoping Jack Smith will damage Trump enough to help them finally get rid of this man without having to do the heavy lifting themselves. With Trump as leader the party is shrinking and losing elections and portions of the electorate including Evangelicals. As the base shrinks down to its hardest hard core, it gets more and more extreme and vile. The only way for Republicans to win as an extremist party is to keep the white supremacists and misogynists active and angry, keep the haters hating and try all the tricks possible to stay in power even if they must cheat and lie to do it.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
A healthy democracy relies on an informed electorate. Autocrats like Putin use disinformation to stay in power. Everyone who cares about our democracy, the rule of law, fairness and human rights needs to keep up the fight for truth. We must stay active and engaged in the effort to insist on truth from everyone in every party. Too many in this GOP are fine with lying liars. They need to clean house and reject the liars in their midst including Trump.
We cannot be complacent when it comes to voting. If we are complacent we will get more George Santoses and Trump wannabees. Republicans do not belong in office until the party gets over its love of hate, it’s normalization of lying, cheating and resorting to mis and disinformation. We can help by staying vigilant and defeating Republicans at the ballot box until they learn that lying and cheating doesn’t get them the power they crave.