“I’ve lived an honest life,” says the Republican congressman from New York, who has been accused of lying

The real George Santos – previously known as Anthony Devolder – is wanted by prosecutors in Brazil for alleged elder fraud and forging checks. According to former employees there and photos and videos that have gone viral, he’s also competed in Brazilian beauty pageants as a drag queen — though he insists this is not true.

And in one of the most heartbreaking revelations yet — which the Republican has also denied — Santos as Devolder reportedly helped a homeless military veteran raise $3,000 on GoFundMe for his dog Sapphire, who was dying to get treatment for a stomach tumor in 2016. Then he is said to have disappeared without giving the funds to veteran Rich Osthoff. Saphir died the following year.

“Little girl has never left my side in 10 years,” Osthoff told the Oyster Bay Patch this week as he recalled having to put his beloved pet to sleep.

“I’ve seriously considered suicide twice, but the thought of leaving her without me saved my life. I loved this dog so much that I breathed in her last breaths as I put her to sleep.”

Two months after his election, Santos now faces a series of investigations into his financial disclosures and campaign finances, as well as a fresh criminal probe in Brazil over his alleged use of a stolen checkbook to purchase nearly $700 worth of items under a false name.

While the congressman admits he has embellished parts of his life and legacy — he opined that he was “Jewish.”ish” was a bizarre defense — he insists he’s not going anywhere.

“I was chosen to serve the people of #NY03 [New York’s third congressional district]not the party & politicians”, Santos tweeted this month. “I will NOT quit!

Nevertheless, the calls for his resignation are getting louder, including within his own ranks. Earlier this month, Republican officials from Nassau County, which occupies Santos’ seat, accused the congressman of deceiving voters and called him “an eyesore in the House of Representatives.”

But within the House of Representatives, now controlled by Republicans and led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Santos was appointed last week to two boards that review bills and oversee government agencies: the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The party line, at least for now, is that it’s up to voters to decide his fate.

“I try to abide by the constitution. The voters voted him into service,” McCarthy said. “If there are concerns, he has to go through the ethics [committee] let him go through with it.”

Under the US Constitution, members can be expelled with a two-thirds majority, which is unlikely in a chamber where Republicans hold 222 of 435 seats. Having endured 15 rounds of voting to become Speaker, McCarthy also knows that every seat counts.


If Santos resigns, he would vacate a district that President Joe Biden led by eight points in the 2020 presidential election. The Republicans would run the risk of the seat falling back to the Democrats, which would further erode their narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

But veteran analyst Larry Sabato points to a broader problem: the erosion of trust in democratic institutions and a Republican party redefined by former President Donald Trump.

“There’s almost nothing these days that can oust someone from public office,” says Sabato, founder and director of the Center for Policy at the University of Virginia.

“I’ve joked to people for years that I think it might be murder, but now I think it must be first-degree murder. Manslaughter is not enough.”

The question, of course, is how an apparently pathological liar like Santos was elected in the first place. Part of this, Sabato says, is due to poor vetting practices, a lack of media resources, and fears of crime in New York, which Republicans capitalized on during the midterms.

But this also includes the sheer luck of a border shift. The District of Santos — a predominantly white and Asian-American seat that connects northeast Queens to the north shore of Long Island — had originally been rigged by the Democrats (a process by which parties manipulate electoral maps) to favor them swing.

However, the New York Supreme Court overturned the map in June and assigned a new map for congressional districts across the state, giving Santos an electoral advantage.

The embattled politician now occupies an office on the first floor of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill. When Congress is in session, there’s nowhere to go without being chased by reporters and photographers while most Republican colleagues keep their distance.

Santos cut a noticeably lonely figure on his first day in the new Congress when a right-wing mutiny broke out over the speakership. The following week, however, he seemed to have found a place among the mutineers when he appeared with hard-line Republican Matt Gaetz on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast.

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.Credit:Bloomberg

When asked by Gaetz, who was standing in for Bannon at the time, how he responded to calls for his resignation, Santos was as defiant as ever.

“I wish all their opinions well, but I was voted in by 142,000 people. Until those 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me, we’ll find out in two years,” he said.

And then, as was proper, came another lie.

“I’ve lived an honest life,” he said, “and I’ve never been accused of anything bad.”

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https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/i-ve-never-been-accused-of-any-wrongdoing-the-life-and-lies-of-republican-george-santos-20230121-p5cef4.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world “I’ve lived an honest life,” says the Republican congressman from New York, who has been accused of lying

Callan Tansill

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