“George, can you stop lying?”
This is Saturday Night Live’s latest coverage of the scandal surrounding U.S. Congressman George Santos.
The American politician is at the center of an extraordinary web of revelations and allegations covering everything from his legacy to jobs he never held.
Critics called him a “total liar” and he was accused of falsifying parts of his resume during his campaign for Congress. While he has denied some of the allegations against him, he has admitted that some of his claims were lies.
Despite the media hype, only a “few” of his fellow Republicans have so far called on him to step down. One political strategist has attributed his actions to the “Trump effect” in an interview with Sky News.
Here’s what Mr. Santos had to say, how we got here and what’s next for the controversial MP.
Who is George Santos?
It’s a deceptively simple question that’s increasingly difficult to answer directly. This is what we know for sure.
The 34-year-old Brazilian-American is elected to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District in November 2022, becoming the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent.
While his victory caused a stir on Capitol Hill, it was quickly overshadowed by allegations about his résumé that began in December.
A New York Times investigation found that Mr. Santos made a number of false statements on his resume, including lies about his education and previous jobs.
From there, it all unraveled.
His responses also varied. He admitted some were lies, rejected others, and changed some.
He’s a “Jew” not a Jew
Mr Santos has made conflicting statements about being Jewish, participating in drag shows in Brazil and the circumstances of his mother’s death.
So let’s start with his legacy.
After his victory, he told the Republican Jewish Coalition summit that the election means “there will now be three” Jewish Republican members of Congress.
But then, he backtracked and told the New York Post that he had “never claimed to be Jewish” and said he was Catholic, adding: “Because I knew my mother’s family had a Jewish background, I said I was ‘Jewish. ‘.”
He says 9/11 ‘took his mother’s life’ – records show she’s out of the country
It’s also confusing when you look at the conflicting reports on the death of Mr. Santos’ mother, Fatima Caruso Devolder.
During his 2021 campaign for Congress, Mr Santos tweeted that the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York “took his mother’s life”.
However, on his campaign website, Mr Santos said his mother was in her office in the South Tower on the day of the terrorist attack but “survived” and died of cancer “a few years later”.
However, records obtained by Sky affiliate NBC News and a Washington Post report citing immigration records suggest that Ms. Devold was not even living in the United States at the time of the attack and was actually living in Rio de Janeiro.
He has not commented on this publicly since.
‘Sued for my life’
now to one The latest claims about MPs performing in drag shows.
A Brazilian actress who goes by the pseudonym Eula Rochard told Reuters she met the current congressman in Brazil in 2005.
In 2008, she entered a drag beauty contest in Rio de Janeiro using the drag name Kitara Ravache, she said.
While the congressman first called the reports “absolutely false” on Twitter, he told US channel ABC7 – “I was young and I had a lot of fun at a festival – when facing the cameras – the accusation I live my life.”
Political strategist Lina Shah said only a “few” Republicans had called on Mr Santos to resign and that his actions echoed the “Trump effect”.
Former senior staffers of two Republican congressmen called him a “liar.”
She told Sky News: “This situation certainly highlights the impact of Donald Trump. The impact of the 45th president, a real campaign style, just often claiming to boast in a way that was simply untrue and turned out to be untrue”
She added that Mr Santos “adopted” the style, “in a provocative way of saying ‘come and get me because even if you try to get me, I’m going to keep lying’.”
Despite the lies, Ms. Shah said none of the top Republicans would take action against him because they “can’t lose” his seat in the House.
Republicans won a narrow majority in the House after midterm elections, and she warned that the removal of Mr Santos could jeopardize the seat.
he doesn’t work on wall street
Despite the mounting allegations against Mr Santos, he has admitted to lying about some matters.
Mr. Santos claimed on his campaign website that he had a career in finance at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs — but neither institution had any record of his employment, a Times investigation found.
He admitted to lying about his education and positions at the two companies, telling the New York Post — “My sin here is embellishing my resume. I’m sorry.”
stealing from disabled veterans
But in some cases Mr Santos has flatly denied certain claims.
He has denied allegations by veteran Richard Osthoff that he defrauded him out of $3,000 in a 2016 GoFundMe campaign page for his dying service dog.
Mr Osthoff told news website Patch he had been told that Anthony Devolder – one of the names Mr Santos used before entering politics – had a pet charity called Friends of Pets United.
He claims Mr Devolder closed the page and disappeared after raising funds. Mr Santos angrily denied the reports, calling them “shocking and crazy”.
What makes his “lie” different?
While some may say that lying in politics is nothing new, a psychologist who specializes in lying and deceit explains why Mr. Santos’ claims and allegations may look a little different.
Dr Chris Hart, a professor of psychology at Texas Woman’s University, told Sky News: “If we look at the lies that most politicians tell, they tend to be exaggerations and half-truths. They rarely lie in such a way that What they claim has absolutely no basis in reality, and that’s what makes him different.
“Compared to other politicians, it’s a little surprising how often he seems to tell them.”
“I will not resign”
Mr. Santos’ lies and revelations of the allegations against him drew the ire of Democrats, who called him a “total liar” and demanded his resignation.
House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said he was a “total liar” who “got into Congress by deceit and connivance.”
Mr. Santos has repeatedly refused to resign despite calls from some Republicans and Democrats.
Right now, he doesn’t appear to have plans to go anywhere.