Donald Trump lies a lot, but George Santos seems to have him beat. Santos, elected to Congress in a contested district in New York, ran and won as the openly gay son of immigrants, a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor,” the founder of an animal rescue nonprofit, the descendent of Jews who fled the Holocaust, the wealthy owner of 13 properties and of a company that paid him a $750,000 salary. And then The New York Times started looking into him—after the election, natch—and found that basically none of his story about himself holds up. Days later, the story somehow keeps crumbling, and we’ve now gotten to the point of questions about whether Santos is … really gay?
Earlier in the week, the Times reported that the college Santos claimed to have graduated from had no record of him, the famous financial institutions he claimed to have worked for had no record of him, his animal rescue organization did not appear to be registered as a nonprofit, disclosure forms listed no clients for the family company that allegedly managed $80 million in assets, and there was no record of the real estate properties he claimed. What the Times did find that Santos hadn’t mentioned was unresolved check fraud charges in Brazil and multiple evictions for unpaid rent. You might be sympathetic to him for the latter, but during the pandemic, Santos vocally opposed an eviction moratorium, asking, “Will we landlords ever be able to take back possession of our property?”
That seemed like a lot when the Times first reported it. But the hits keep coming. On Wednesday, the Jewish publication The Forward reported that Santos lied about his Jewish grandparents fleeing persecution. According to Santos’ campaign website, “George’s grandparents fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.” But The Forward found genealogical information that Santos’ grandparents were born in Brazil in 1918 and 1927. He described his late mother as Jewish, but her still-existing Facebook page was filled with Catholic references while Jewish references were entirely absent.
Things got so bad that people started questioning—mostly but not entirely jokingly—if Santos is even gay.
Well … while it is certainly the case that many LGBTQ people have what appear to be straight relationships before and in some cases after they come out, it is nonetheless interesting in the context of Santos’ many, many lies that another thing he didn’t mention is his marriage to and divorce from a woman. It wouldn’t even be worth mentioning if it was long since in the past, right? But Santos’ divorce from a woman named Uadla Santos Vieira Santos happened in September 2019, The Daily Beast reports. Additionally, “He has previously told U.S. and Brazilian media that he was engaged to a man, a fellow Brazilian whom Santos has identified as a pharmacist, and his campaign bio claims he lives on Long Island with his husband. (The Daily Beast could find no public record of the man’s work in that field, nor could we find a marriage record.)”
Again, Santos could have married a woman and later come out as gay and gotten divorced. That happens all the time. But in October, Santos said, “I am openly gay, have never had an issue with my sexual identity in the past decade, and I can tell you and assure you, I will always be an advocate for LGBTQ folks.” That assurance of his rock-solid LGBTQ identity came as he defended himself for defending Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill, so he was strategically deploying his identity to promote hateful policies. And the time frame he offers of a decade is in conflict with that 2019 divorce from a woman.
It sure is interesting. Especially since every time you think that everything Santos ever said about himself has been revealed to be a lie, something new comes out.