Gay GOP congressman George Santos admits lying about education and employment history
Newly elected Republican congressman George Santos has apologised after admitting he ‘embellished’ his education and employment history on his resume, but said he still intends to serve in office.
Santos faced immense scrutiny over discrepancies in his employment and education – as well as other public claims he made about his background – after he was elected in November to represent parts of Long Island and Queens in New York.
The gay GOP legislator acknowledged he fabricated some facts about his background during his successful campaign for a seat in the US House in separate interviews with WABC radio and the New York Post.
He insisted in both interviews that he’s “not a criminal” and believes the controversy wouldn’t ultimately impact his two-year term in the House of Representatives.
“I am not a criminal – not here, not abroad, in any jurisdiction in the world have I ever committed any crimes,” Santos said in an interview with WABC.
He continued: “To get down to the nit and gritty, I’m not a fraud.
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“I’m not a criminal who defrauded the entire country and made up this fictional character and ran for Congress.
“I’ve been around a long time. I mean, a lot of people know me. They know who I am. They’ve done business dealings with me.”
Santos insisted a “lot of people overstate in their resumes” or “twist a little bit”, adding he’s “not saying [he is] guilty of that”.
“My sins here are embellishing my resume,” Santos told the New York Post. “I’m sorry.”
He believes the controversy won’t deter him from “having good legislative success” and will be an “effective” politician.
“I campaigned talking about the people’s concerns, not my resume,” Santos said.
“I intend to deliver on the promises I made during the campaign — fighting crime, fighting to lower inflation, improving education.”
The allegations about George Santos’ work and educational background were first made in a damning New York Times report in December.
Santos admitted that he hadn’t graduated from any college or university despite claiming he received degrees in finance and economics from Baruch College and New York University.
“I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” he said. “I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”
The first-generation Brazilian-American clarified to the New York Post that he “never worked directly” for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. He claimed he did do work for them through his own company and said it was a “poor choice of words” to say he worked for the businesses.
Santos claimed in a previous interview that his company “lost four employees” during the devastating 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which left 49 dead and 53 people wounded.
During his interview with WABC, George Santos changed his account slightly and said the four individuals weren’t his employees at the time but were in the process of being hired.
“We did lose four people that were going to be coming to work for the company that I was starting up in Orlando,” he said.
Santos denounced reports by CNN and The Forward, a Jewish publication, that questioned claims about the Republican’s accounts of his Jewish ancestry. This included an account that his maternal grandparents fled persecution in Ukraine and eventually emigrated to Brazil during the Holocaust.
Santos told the New York Post he “never claimed to be Jewish”, that he’s “clearly Catholic” and described himself as “Jew-ish” after learning about his maternal family’s background.
“I am Catholic,” Santos said. “Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was ‘Jew-ish’.”
Santos’ Democratic opponent Robert Zimmerman tweeted that the Republican admitted to being a liar, claiming he “defrauded Nassau and Queens residents”. Zimmerman called for George Santos to be “held accountable” by the Department of Justice and the House Ethics committee for his lies.
In a separate tweet, Zimmerman challenged George Santos to “resign and run against [him] in a special election” because he should “face voters with [his] real past”.
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