“Santos” is the Spanish or Portuguese word for “Saints.” George Santos, the recently elected, gay Republican Congressman from New York, is far from saintly.
Though politicians are expected to lie, Santos gave lying a new meaning as it was revealed that most (if not all) of the items on his resume are false. To make a sordid story short, George Santos is to lying what the late Jeffrey Dahmer was to murder. If Santos were Pinocchio, his nose would have grown to the length of a football field.
Though Santos’s mendacity was obvious for quite a while (to those who looked), voters in his district of Queens and Nassau County were ignorant (or uncaring) enough to elect him to the House. It was not until Dec. 19 that the New York Times published an expose that told us what a piece of Shinola Santos is. As it turns out, Santos did not go to Baruch College; he did not work for Citigroup or Goldman Sachs; his animal charity group Friends of Pets United does not exist; his company (whatever it was) did not lose employees at the Pulse Nightclub Massacre; his grandparents were not Holocaust survivors; his mother was not in the South Tower on 9/11. Even Santos’s homosexuality is in doubt, though it was discovered that he was once married to a woman. (In this I can be sympathetic. I know many gay men who were once married to women.) On the other hand, Santos was evicted from his apartment in Queens in 2017 and he is wanted for check fraud in his native Brazil. It comes to the point that we cannot trust Santos on anything. To quote the New York Daily News, “Is he really 34 years old? Is he really a Republican?” To which I should add: Is he really human?
By Christmas, the scandal was all over the news, and Santos felt obligated to do something about the mess he created. In a series of interviews Santos admitted that he lied about his job experience, his college education, and his heritage. Though Santos called himself a “proud American Jew,” he finally admitted that he is Catholic: “Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’” [What?] As for the gay stuff, Santos “dated women in the past. I married a woman. It’s personal stuff,” he told the New York Post. ‘I’m very much gay.” All this was too much for former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, hardly a model of integrity herself, who tore at Santos when she interviewed him on Fox News: “Do you have no shame?” she asked.
Though Democrats were quick to demand that Santos resign, his own Republican party, soon in control of the House of Representatives, remained silent. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who needs Santos’s vote to become Speaker of the House, refuses to criticize him, which tells us as much about McCarthy as it does about Santos. (Anyone who is so desperate to become Speaker that he would jettison all his principles should not be elected to that post.) Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries was more to the point when he called Santos “a complete and utter fraud.” Not surprisingly, Santos refuses to resign from his prospective post, showing us again that he only cares for himself. I hope his constituents remember all this in 2024.
Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer and journalist. He has been an active member of South Florida's LGBT community for more than four decades and has served in various community organizations.