Why the liar George Santos is exactly what America deserves
It is rare that a humble newspaper writer can speak in absolutes, and for that I am grateful to George Santos, the United States representative for the 3rd Congressional District of New York.
I can now say, with 100% certainty, that the recently elected Republican lawmaker has proven there is only one profession in the United States for which a person can be caught lying about virtually every aspect of his life – from education, to employment history, to finances, to family history, to nationality and more – and not immediately be fired:
Member of the United States Congress.
We should be surprised by this.
What does it say about us that we are not?
Could it be that someone like Santos is what we have come to deserve?
House Speaker: 'He has a right to serve.'
The recently humiliated, politically debilitated, grudgingly elected speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, has said of Santos, “The voters are the power. The voters made the decision and he has a right to serve.”
The right to serve? As if a con man has a “right” to the money he swindled because the victims voluntarily handed it to him.
The voters of the 3rd Congressional District didn’t know Santos lied about where he went to high school (not, as he claimed, the prestigious Horace Mann School in New York) and college (not Baruch College or NYU). He also claimed to have a master’s degree. In fact, Santos has a high-school equivalency diploma and never went to college.
He said he worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. They have no record of that.
From 'proud American Jew' to 'Jew-ish'
He said his family had a real-estate portfolio of 13 properties. The New York Times could find no evidence of that. Although, they found that Santos has been evicted twice.
There also are serious questions about his finances and where his money comes from. Authorities in Brazil, where Santos lived with his family for a time, are reopening a fraud case against him. There are inconsistencies, to say the least, concerning a story he tells about his mother and 9/11. There are no records to be found concerning a foundation for pets Santos said he ran.
He said that his “grandparents survived the Holocaust” but genealogists say there is no proof of that.
He described himself as a “proud American Jew” until that, too, was questioned and Santos said that he only claimed to be “Jew-ish.”
And, still, Speaker McCarthy says Santos has a “right to serve,” and told a reporter that “a lot of people here" (in Congress) have fabricated part of their resume.
A lot of people? And that is somehow okay?
Proclaiming he will not resign
The Nassau Republican Committee, which got Santos elected, wants him out of Congress. Nassau County Republican Party chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr. said of Santos, “He’s disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople. Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
Four Republican members of Congress, all from New York, have also called for Santos to resign.
Ethics complaints have been filed against him in Congress as well. But the majority of Republicans in Congress have said nothing.
For his part, Santos tweeted, “I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living. I will NOT resign!”
You would be fired. I would be fired. He's in Congress
If any one of us told just one of lies that Santos told to win a spot in Congress we would be forced to resign or, more likely, fired from our jobs on the spot.
And for good reason.
After all, if you lie to get a job what would you do while on the job?
Yet there he sits. In the House of Representatives, with some of his colleagues and elements of the right-wing media portraying Santos as a victim. And most other Republican remaining silent, which is, essentially, support.
So far, none of Arizona’s Republican members of Congress have publicly called for Santos to quit.
We should be surprised.
What does it say about us that we are not?
Reach Montini at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Why the liar George Santos is just what America deserves