By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer
Just a couple of months ago, 35-year-old Republican George Santos was hailed as a hero after flipping New York’s 3rd Congressional District on the way to securing control over the House of Representatives for Republicans during the 2022 midterms. Now, Santos is facing calls from several parties to resign after reports have shown that several details about his life detailed in his campaign were false, as well as allegations freshly unearthed in the midst of a widespread investigation into him.
In his 2022 campaign for Congress, Santos presented himself as a gay, Jewish son of Brazilian immigrants who grew up in Queens and graduated Baruch College in 2010, obtained his MBA at New York University. He then worked for both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, followed by bouncing between two investment firms in the interim between his 2020 election and the 2022 midterms. He also claimed that his grandparents were also victims of the Holocaust, his mother survived 9/11 and he lost four employees at the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.
According to reports from the New York Times and other sources, none of that is true.
Just one month after Santos was elected, the New York Times published a report on Dec. 17, stating that Santos had lied about his resume. A spokesperson from Baruch College said that Santos was not in the class of 2010, and NYU said that Santos had never been enrolled as a student. Furthermore, both Goldman-Sachs and Citigroup also said that Santos had never been employed by them, and the real-estate wing of Citigroup Santos claimed he worked at was dissolved in 2010, years before he said he worked there. The Times also noted that none of the 49 victims in the Pulse shooting were employed at any of the firms.
Two days later, Joseph Murray, Santos’ lawyer, released a statement saying that the claims were false and the New York Times’ report was a “shotgun blast” of attacks.
“It is of no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at the New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations,” the statement reads.
Through the coming weeks, more allegations against Santos would surface. On Dec. 21, The Forward released a statement saying that his grandparents were not victims of the Holocaust and that Santos did not have any Jewish ancestry, leading to backlash from the Republican Jewish Coalition and him to clarify that he was “Jew-ish” in an interview on Dec. 26. Reports subsequently emerged of Santos illegally using election funds to fund private expenses, failing to disclose financial reports to Congress, being married to a woman in 2019 and allegedly stealing $3,000 from a disabled veteran’s GoFundMe created to fund his dying dog’s surgery. As for the investment firms he worked at between his two elections — the first firm LinkBridge Investors — said that he was only a freelancer in charge of sponsorships. His second firm, Harbor City Capital, had its assets seized in 2021 after accusations of running a Ponzi scheme and siphoning $17 million from investors.
Most recently, allegations from the New York Post have surfaced after drag queen Eula Rochard said that Santos did drag when he was living in Brazil in 2008.
George Santos has addressed some of the allegations but is still under investigation. Santos has confessed that he did not attend Baruch or NYU and that his statements about working at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup were a “poor choice of words”. He has also confirmed that he is not Jewish but Catholic, and was married to a woman in 2019. He has denied allegations of stealing money from a GoFundMe as well as doing drag in 2008 but did confess that he “was young and had fun at a festival.” Both claims have yet to be independently confirmed.
Santos has faced calls to resign from both parties, including fellow GOP candidates that had previously endorsed him. However, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has appointed him to two House Committees despite claims of risking national security and has shown signs of continuing to stand by Santos.
In an interview with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) on Jan. 12, Santos said that he would resign if 142,000 people asked him to, referring to the number of votes he received in the recent 2022 elections.