It can be difficult keeping up with the list of fictions that George Santos has been accused of telling, admitted telling, or merely been caught spinning red-handed following a contradictory statement.
But, do not fret: The Independent is here, and we’re keeping track of the whole list of lies even as it continues to grow — both in number and in the sheer scale of the humiliation that it presents for not just Mr Santos, who remains adamant that he will serve two years in office as representative for New York’s third district, but for the Republican House caucus as a whole.
Let’s dive in to every fabrication, fiction, lie, mistruth, and “embellishment” that Mr Santos has told (so far):
He went to prep school
Mr Santos claimed in a campaign biography during his failed 2020 bid for Congress (in the same district) that he had briefly attended a prestigious prep school in New York.
“He began Horace Mann preparatory school in the Bronx, however, did not graduate from Horace Mann due to financial difficulties for his family,” read the biography.
As you might expect, Horace Mann officials said there was no record of him ever attending. Mr Santos has not responded to discovery of this apparent fabrication.
He went to college
Our first one, and one of the primary batch of lies uncovered by The New York Times and other news outlets, is Mr Santos’s claim that he obtained degrees from NYU and Baruch College, another New York City-based school.
As it turns out, not only did he not graduate from either school, officials at both said there was no record of him attending under any alias. Mr Santos has now admitted this, chalking it up to the effort to make his resume more impressive.
He worked at banks
Another from the initial dispatch: Mr Santos did not, as it turns out, work at either Citigroup or Goldman Sachs. He has now admitted that this too was a fiction: Instead, he claims to have worked for the two banks through a third company, though he has provided no evidence to back that claim up.
What we do know is that an investment firm he founded in May of 2021 came into sudden wealth, bringing in millions of dollars to the degreeless Mr Santos, whose employment history remains murky. He has yet to explain how this firm he founded (and shut down in 2022 after failing to file paperwork) operated or made its millions in such a short period — or how he made his connections in the industry at all.
He ran a charity
The political newcomer claimed not only to be an ex-banker but also a lover of animals: Mr Santos previously claimed to have founded a charity group called Friends of Pets United, taking credit for supposedly saving thousands of dogs and cats. But no IRS records of the group could be found, and Mr Santos himself even backed away from the claim that he founded the group, later telling reporters that he only campaigned for the group and tried to find foster homes for some animals.
He’s Jewish, and his grandparents fled the Holocaust
It’s becoming almost impossible to count every time Mr Santos has been accused of telling various audiences that he is Jewish. The Republican Jewish Coalition says that he represented himself to them as Jewish, and he has made public comments to that effect in interviews. Then there was the position paper uncovered by Axios in which he simply refers to himself as an “American Jew”, removing all doubt as to what he said.
Nevertheless, in a recent interview with Fox News he insisted that he had not lied, and in fact only referred to himself as “Jew-ish” — an explanation that sounded like it was ripped straight from a Weekend Update joke.
Not only has he come clean about actually being Catholic, geneologists contacted by The Forward said that there was no evidence to prove his other past claims on the issue; namely, that his grandparents on his mother’s side escaped the Holocaust. They were born in Brazil.
He owns real estate
During the 2020 campaign, Mr Santos told voters that he owned more than a dozen rental properties across the state of New York. Turns out, that’s not true: He told City & State New York that he actually “does not own any properties” at all. Some may be owned by his family, but he only at the most had use of them.
His mother died twice
This one easily takes the crown for “most bizarre” lie told so far. In one tweet uncovered Wednesday by reporters, Mr Santos claimed that his mother had died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.
Then he sent another tweet, five months later. In that message, his mother had a new time of death: 23 December, 2016.
While Mr Santos has not admitted to this fib or addressed it publicly, it is reasonably safe to say that his mother did not come back from the dead.
His apartment was robbed
In a sworn statement in housing court in 2016, Mr Santos claimed he was mugged on his way to pay hundreds of dollars in back rent to his Queens landlord during an eviction case. The New York City Police Department has no record of any such attack.
A report from New York outlet Gothamist revealed that Mr Santos wrote that he was mugged on his way to deliver a rent cheque to Queens Housing Court on 15 January 2016 in an effort to resolve his case.
The Republican wrote that he was “unable to provide a police report” and was told to return to police several days later to pick one up, according to an affidavit that was filled out under oath.
Mr Santos was set to pay $2,250 in back rent for his Queens apartment.
A spokesperson for NYPD told the outlet there was nothing on file related to Mr Santos’s claims.
Alex Woodward contributed to this report