Out gay Rep.-elect George Santos (R-NY) has admitted lying to voters about some parts of his resume, but didn’t address other alleged falsehoods in his backstory. He also said he wouldn’t give up his seat even though Democrats have said that he should.
“My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry,” he said on Monday, according to the New York Post, adding, “I am not a criminal… This [controversy] will not deter me from having good legislative success. I will be effective. I will be good.”
Among the falsehoods he fessed up to is the fact that he never graduated from Baruch College. “I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” he said. “I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”
He also admitted that he never worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He now claims that, while working as vice president for a company called Link Bridge, he helped make “capital introductions” between clients and investors who were at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
“I will be clearer about that,” he said. “It was stated poorly.”
Indeed, his campaign website had “poorly” stated that he “began working at Citigroup as an associate and quickly advanced to become an associate asset manager in the real asset division of the firm.” Link Bridge didn’t respond to media requests for clarification.
He also admitted that he was indeed married to a woman from 2012 until they divorced in 2017. He had told USA Today in October that he had “never had an issue with my sexual identity in the past decade.”
He didn’t mention his ex-wife ever during his two election bids. “I’m very much gay,” he said on Monday. “I’m okay with my sexuality. People change. I’m one of those people who change.”
The publication The Daily Beast failed to find a marriage record for Santos to the man he currently refers to as his husband.
When asked about why he doesn’t reside at the Queens, New York address in his district where he was registered to vote, the Post reported, “Santos also admitted to lying when he claimed that he owned 13 different properties, saying he now resides at his sister’s place in Huntington but is looking to purchase his own place.”
He also threw his own dead grandmother under the bus when asked about the claim that his grandparents escaped the Nazi Holocaust. Genealogical records threw doubt on this claim, suggesting they might have resided in Brazil rather than having fled from Europe. He now says the claim came from his deceased grandmother’s stories.
Even though he has previously identified as a nonobservant Jew in the past, he now says that he never claimed he was Jewish (but rather Jew-ish), noting that his grandmother told him that she converted from Judaism to Catholicism.
He also explained his claim that he lost four employees in the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting. The New York Times found that none of the shooting’s 49 victims seemed to be associated with any of his businesses. He now says that, at the time of their deaths, the four “employees” were in the process of being hired for his company (which he didn’t name) when they died in the shooting. He provided no additional information to back up his claim.
Numerous discrepancies in Santos’ past remain. No records seem to back up his claim that his mother escaped the south tower of the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. No records seem to back up his claim that he founded a charity called Friends of Pets nor that he attended New York University.
The New York Times also noted that, even though he denied ever having cashed stolen checks in Brazil, he didn’t explain why Brazilian court records alleged otherwise. Nor did he explain how he was able to lend himself $700,000 to his congressional campaign despite owing landlords and creditors thousands in the past.
Democrats like outgoing House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and upcoming House Democratic Minority Leader, Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY) have said that Santos isn’t fit to serve in Congress and should resign.
“George Santos should resign as congressman-elect,” tweeted Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). “If he refuses, Congress should expel him. He should also be investigated by authorities. Just about every aspect of his life appears to be a lie.”
“George Santos admits his life story is a complete fabrication,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY). “His pitiful confession should not distract us from concerns about possible criminality and corruption.”
However, Santos has refused and Republican Congress members have stayed silent about his falsehoods. In fact, the Post cited an “unnamed senior GOP leadership aide” who said that Republicans joked about all of Santos’ discrepancies.
“As far as questions about George in general, that was always something that was brought up whenever we talked about this race,” the aide told the Post. “It was a running joke at a certain point. This is the second time he’s run and these issues we assumed would be worked out by the voters.”
Nevertheless, New York State Attorney General Tish James is reportedly looking into whether Santos broke any laws through his past claims.