New York Republican Representative-elect George Santos broke his silence after The New York Times published the results of an extensive investigation that called into question key elements of his biography.
Last week, Times reporters Grace Ashford and Michael Gold reported that Santos "misrepresented a number of his career highlights" despite building his candidacy "on the notion that he was the 'full embodiment of the American dream' and was running to safeguard it for others."
But Santos—whose election on Long Island last month helped Republicans secure a slim majority in the House of Representatives—doesn't appear to think addressing this report is all that urgent because when he finally broke his silence, he simply announced that he will tell his story "next week."
Santos said he wanted to "assure everyone that I will address your questions" and affirmed his commitment to public safety, inflation, education, and other issues he campaigned on.
A Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil—where Santos, the son of Brazilian immigrants, spent some time—as well as "various attempts to verify claims" Santos made on the campaign trail, concluded that Santos had lied about everything from his education to his work history at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, and even his source of income.
For instance, Santos claims he graduated from Baruch College but neither the Times nor a separate investigation by NPR could confirm this and the school told the latter outlet that it could find no match for a George Santos in its database. And while Santos has described himself as a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor,” neither Citigroup nor Goldman Sachs had records of him working at their firms.
Santos—who claims to have been gay all his life and did not reveal during his campaign that he had divorced a woman in 2019—even said in one interview that four of his employees died in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, claims that did not hold up under scrutiny.
And where Santos gets his income is still a mystery even though he reported a $750,000 salary and dividends of over $1 million from his company, the Devolder Organization, which doesn't appear to exist.
Santos has largely ignored all of this news coverage and his bizarre statement was swiftly mocked by social media users.
Democrats and some commentators have expressed surprise and disappointment that opposition research did not detect or act on Santos' résumé discrepancies before the election.
But Republican leaders have remained largely silent on the scandal even though some former supporters within the party have called upon Santos to explain himself, including the chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee as well as former Long Island Republican Congressman Peter T. King.
Observers have expressed doubt about whether the House would take action, given the chamber's narrow Republican majority in the incoming Congress. Santos recently announced he would support House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's bid for House Speaker, and McCarthy is struggling to obtain the majority of votes necessary to win the coveted position.
The House could decline to seat Santos, an action that would trigger a special election in a district that had previously favored Democrats, though Republicans are more likely to deny Santos committee assignments than expel him outright.
Yesterday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced her office will investigate Santos amid concerns about his academic and professional résumé and questions about his finances and campaign disclosures.