Alleged victim of a 2021 politically motivated assassination attempt, perpetrated in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue in New York. Unpublished model in the main fashion catwalk of the Big Apple. Alleged Jew, descendant of Ukrainians who took refuge in Brazil fleeing the Holocaust. Non-existent graduate of two New York faculties, as well as a ghost player on the volleyball team of one of them. Bogus employee of two major Wall Street firms. The identities and vicissitudes of life with which George Santos, 34, a Republican congressman from Long Island (New York), has graced his resume, make good the rhetoric of alternative truth, that populist fiction in which a broad brush verisimilitude supplants the stamp of unappealable reality. Of all the falsehoods in his wake, only the photographs that show him in a contest of drag queen in Rio de Janeiro, 15 years ago ―in which he regretted not winning the award for his poor wardrobe―, they can be considered true.
The reality forged by Santos, whose election, and that of three other co-religionists, in a traditionally Democratic state helped give Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, has been crumbling as the media they deflated their fabulations. Neither he nor he is Jewish, as he said to gain the support of Long Island’s sizeable Jewish community; neither he was a volleyball star in his college years, nor his mother worked at the World Trade Center and survived the attack on the Twin Towers, according to what he maintained to earn the sympathy of his voters. The character saints It is a sum of data as striking as it is easy to disassemble, which adds stupor to its mystification, say its detractors, including some Republicans.
The deconstruction of the real Santos did not prevent him from collecting the act of congressman on January 3, without the party leadership having resolved how to stop a snowball that grows with the days, with potential scandals such as the financing of his campaign, marked out for a myriad of suspicious expenses just a penny below the limit an invoice requires, or his ties to a businessman cousin of a sanctioned Russian oligarch. Using in vain an affiliation such as Judaism has put him in the crosshairs of the influential Jewish community; also in that of the LGTBQ community, due to his ultra-conservative positions and for having hidden that he was married to a woman until 2019 despite now declaring himself openly gay and committed to a man. The district attorney for Nassau County, to which his wealthy constituency belongs, opened an investigation in late December into “the staggering fabrications and inconsistencies” in his story, which would “disallow” him as a congressman. The prosecutor is also a Republican.
In December, a month after being elected, the first alarm sounded. The newspaper The New York Times He referred to irregularities in Santos’s curriculum, his fictitious university education and his inflated work experience. Immediately afterwards, the journalist Andrew Silverstein debunked his Jewish roots; later, the lie that his mother survived 9/11. When I read the article The New York Times, was working on a story about Holocaust survivors, including a Ukrainian Jew whose family happens to live in the George Santos district. I am familiar with the stories of survivors and the one about his family seemed unlikely to me. He was confident that if it was true, he could easily find proof. Since I couldn’t, I kept digging and found evidence that both grandparents [maternos] they were born in Brazil before World War II”, explains Silverstein.
He tried to solve his Jewish ancestry with a pun in English that is difficult to translate into Spanish: instead of Jewish (jew), he declared himself “related to Jews” (jew-ish), and again alluded to the ancestors of his mother, the alleged 9/11 survivor. “False connections with tragic events,” Silverstein emphasizes, “represent an attempt to monetize pain for political purposes, and that is morally unacceptable.” “I have received emails with reactions from descendants of Holocaust survivors and they are very angry,” adds the New York journalist, who did not find it difficult to prove that his grandparents were not Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, which corroborates the disdain for the facts about the that Santos built his figure. “Proving that her mother was not in New York on 9/11 required applying to the government for documents, which took some time.” That day in September 2001, Fatima Devolder was in Brazil.
No one, not his party leaders, not the Democrats, not the media, caught his lies before the midterm elections last November. Once the deception was discovered, “there are open investigations at the local and federal level. Also a case in Brazil [por el uso de un talonario de cheques robado]. Some Republicans, especially those in New York, do not want him in Congress, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has only said that he will be expelled, or asked to resign his seat, if the ethics committee investigating him found guilty of a crime. He can take years, ”says Silverstein.
New Year’s Eve with Trump
Favor with favor: the tepidity of McCarthy may be due to the support of Santos in the hard vote as leader of the Republican majority of the House. Politically, Santos is on the ultra side of the Republicans; In his day, he boasted on his social networks, with photos, of attending the luxurious New Year’s Eve evening in 2020, the first of the pandemic, at Donald Trump’s residence in Florida, as a result of which he claims to have been subjected to of harassment by his rivals and of the alleged assassination attempt in New York a few months later. This week he refused to attend a reception hosted by President Joe Biden at the White House for new members of Congress; with him, some of those who most torpedoed the election of McCarthy as speaker of the House of Representatives. The spokesman lashed out this week against journalists who asked him why he continues to defend him. McCarthy’s cold response was that Santos has been legitimately elected.
His last known troll is that of having walked, supposedly, on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, according to a man who shared a flat with him and his family in 2013. Santos then called himself Anthony Devolder, his mother’s last name, and assured the source that he was going to pose for the magazine Vogue. He also allegedly conned a veteran who had raised a few thousand dollars to treat his sick dog. Delusions of grandeur, hoaxes and pathological lies: the umpteenth turn of the screw in the universe of alternative truths that the most radical sector of Republicans has been rehearsing since the days of the Tea Party. Both Santos and his classmate Marjorie Taylor Greene, an exponent of the party’s most ultra faction, have just been promoted to two congressional committees. As if the improbable, because it was bizarre, had taken control of the story.
Follow all the international information on Facebook Y Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits