Washington If it were all about speedy publicity, George Santos would have gotten it all. He, one of 434 members of the US House of Representatives, should be familiar to most Americans by now. Over the weekend, the New York Times compared him to “pop culture’s biggest liars,” to the “talented Mr. Ripley” and to Frank Abagnale from Catch Me If You Can.
The article appeared in the newspaper’s style section, mind you, and explored Santos’s sleek, ‘preppy’ look, which makes men look like they’ve just stepped off the yacht. “How the hell,” asked the newspaper, could Santos’ lies have gone undetected for so long, replying, “Probably because he just looked so damn convincing.”
The story of George Santos has been the favorite topic of American late night shows and tabloid covers for weeks. However, behind the circus around his person is a frightening callousness in dealing with deception.
In the congressional elections in November, the 34-year-old won the 3rd congressional district in New York State for the Republicans. A little later, major contradictions in his biography and finances came to light. Despite this, Republicans in Congress have not yet demanded that he give up his seat.
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Confidence in American government institutions is falling year by year, and the Santos case is not exactly helping to reverse this trend.
Investigations by several authorities
Several authorities are investigating against Santos. Among other things, the Long Island Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation in Nassau County. “No one is above the law,” Republican District Attorney Anne Donnelly said.
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During the election campaign, the local newspaper “North Shore Leader” became aware of Santos, who suddenly stated that he had assets of eleven million dollars – a multiple of the previous figures he had to give to the election commission.
The “New York Times” finally took a closer look and found out: Santos’ candidate biography was a dream. So he gave degrees from colleges he had never attended.
MP George Santos stated that he had assets – a multiple of previous figures that he had to give to the electoral commission.
The banks Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, for which he allegedly worked, denied that the deputy had worked for them. Santos once said he was Jewish and descended from Holocaust survivors, although he is demonstrably a Catholic.
He later justified himself by merely meaning that he was close to the Jewish faith, i.e. “Jew-ish”. Nor was his mother killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as he described. However, all of this only became clear after the election.
Meanwhile, new companions keep coming out of cover. They release photos to the press purporting to show Santos as a drag queen and claim he siphoned off funds from a fundraiser for a dying dog. Every day in the Santos saga becomes more absurd.
Santos says he’s “embellished” his resume, but he’s “not a criminal.” The media “continue to make outrageous claims about my life as I work to deliver results,” he explained.
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So far, he’s had the backing of the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which last week placed him on two committees — small business and science. The bodies are not powerful, but the Republicans are sending the signal that an impostor like Santos is welcome in their ranks.
However, Santos sat isolated in the back row during the drama surrounding Kevin McCarthy’s speaker choice, hardly anyone spoke to him. He often walks through the aisles of the congress with his eyes lowered. Some Republicans have called him a “bad guy” and a “cheater,” with some calling for his resignation.
But as long as McCarthy supports him, Santos doesn’t have to go. “It is the voters who made this decision. He has to answer to the voters,” the Republican leader said.
This is mainly based on power calculations: the Republicans have a lead of only four votes in the House of Representatives, McCarthy can afford almost no dissenters when voting, and he seems to have Santos’ loyalty. In new elections in the New York constituency, a Democrat could possibly get the seat.
According to former Long Island Congressman Peter King, it’s a short-sighted strategy. He argued in the New York Times that New York voters would not forget the Santos scandal – and would vote for Democrats in the next election. Santos hangs around the Republicans’ neck like an albatross.
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