A questionable background has dogged George Santos before, but incorporating the LGBT community’s darkest tragedy into his story has the New York Congressman-elect under intense scrutiny.
Prominent parts of Santos’ résumé appear to be falsified, New York Times reported on Dec. 19. The newspaper was unable to verify that Santos attended New York University, graduated from Baruch College and worked at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, as he claimed.
Adding to the doubts, Santos told New York Public Radio last month that his company lost four employees at the Pulse Nightclub Massacre – another claim that has not been verified despite best efforts by numerous fact-checkers.
“If the reports are accurate, this man fabricated everything from his education and employment history to his proximity to the horrific attack that stole 49 from our community,” said Pulse survivor and Equality Florida press secretary Brandon Wolf. “Our worst nightmare is not a platform from which to run your grift. He should be made to answer for these reported lies. And voters deserve an explanation for how he was able to successfully scam his way to being elected.”
In the first-ever congressional race between two out gay men, Santos, 34, a Republican, won the Queens/Long Island district by eight percentage points over Democrat Robert Zimmerman. Zimmeran told the Washington Post the Times’ report was “not a shock,” adding, “We always knew he was running a scam against the voters and we raised many of these issues but were drowned out in the governor’s race where crime was the focus and the media had other priorities.”
It is unclear what kind of punishment is in store for Santos if he did indeed fabricate his past.
Republicans are set to take control of the House by a razor-thin margin and need every vote. Santos has already tweeted support for California Congressman Kevin McCarthy to take the gavel.
Along with his résumé woes, Santos has inconsistencies on his financial disclosure forms that could result in ethics violations. He reported assets of $11 million in Sept. 2022, two years after claiming he had no assets over $5,000.
And then there’s Santos’ attendance at former President Donald Trump’s infamous Jan. 6, 2021 speech in Washington where he called the crowd “amazing” and Trump was in “full awesomeness that day.” Santos denied being on Capitol grounds during the attack but admitted to cutting a check to get people out of jail.
On Dec. 19, Santos’ attorney, Joseph Murray, issued a statement accusing “enemies” at the Times of “attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”
Under Santos’ name, the Times found an arrest for theft in his native Brazil and two eviction cases in New York.
It’s what they did not find, as it relates to the LGBT community, that has amplified outrage.
“The thing that really makes my blood boil about the Santos story is lying about employing victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre,” tweeted political analyst and former Jeb Bush advisor Tim Miller. “Using their tragedy as a shield is the mark of being rotted to the core by your lies.”