Danielle O’Brien, editor
New York representative George Santos’s credibility has been under a magnifying glass since his appointment to represent New York’s 3rd congressional district back in November 2022. Santos was just one Republican of the many elected to the house across the state of New York, however, he is certainly not as common. After all, George Santos is the first openly gay Republican representative elected to the House of Representatives. However, Santos has made it clear through his political stances that he opposes practically everything about his own identity by supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation such as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” in Florida. For example, in 2020, Santos was remarked as saying in an interview with conservative podcaster John Stubbins, “children who are raised by single parents or gay and lesbian couples tend to grow up ‘troubled,’ … the family unit has been under attack for decades in different ways…the flavor of the decade is same-sex couples. They’re teaching in schools that kids don’t need a mommy and a daddy, you can have two mommies and two daddies. That’s an attack on the family unit.” Santos’s comments are jarring considering Santos himself is gay. Santos has aligned himself with his Republican counterparts who worry about the LGBTQ+ grooming of America’s youth, such as through having “drag queens as teachers.” Interestingly, however, it’s possible that the call is coming from inside the house. Although Santos has admitted to fabricating a large part of his resume, one aspect he has avidly denied is an alleged past career in drag. On Wednesday, Jan. 17, a journalist for MSNBC, Marisa Kabas, tweeted a photo of what looked like George Santos dressed in drag alongside another drag queen. The photo reportedly was from a 2008 drag show. The drag queen Santos allegedly stood beside Eula Roarard and Santos as “Kitara Ravache.” Kabas goes into further detail about the interview she conducted recently with the other drag queen Eula Roarard who confirmed that the same Kitara she stood beside in Brazil was now house representative George Santos after seeing him on the news recently. Eula automatically knew it was her old friend, George, stating that the two of them met when he was a teenager interested in the drag scene in Niterói. At that time, Eula was well known in Niterói, establishing a name for herself in the drag scene. Interestingly, Eula described how when she knew Santos, he was as much of a fabricator then as he is now. Eula stated in the interview, “George always lied about everything. He used to create stories, usually involving money—like that his dad was rich. But then people wondered why his mom was a cleaning lady. There’s nothing wrong with being a cleaning lady, but if his dad was rich, then why?” (Kabas, 2023). Furthermore, Eula explained that he would not have considered Santos as having a drag career because “he didn’t have what it takes.”Santos denies that it was not a drag career. In fact, it wasn’t until Saturday Jan. 21 did Santos acknowledge he dressed up as a woman before. Walking through the LaGuardia airport Saturday being confronted by reports, Santos finally acknowledged that he had dressed up as a woman before, stating, “No, I was not a drag queen in Brazil, guys. I was young, and I had fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life,”. However, just days prior on Twitter Santos described the allegations of him having a drag career to be “categorically false.”
Nevertheless, this is not the only aspect of Santos’s political career thus far that is drawing people’s attention. Santos has been alleged as lying about everything from the source of his campaign funds, his resume, and his heritage, to his mother dying in 9/11. Santos’s long list of lies can begin with possibly the most disturbing. In July 2021 Santos published a tweet describing how 9/11 claimed his mother’s life. It is described in further detail on Santos’s campaign website that his mother was “at her desk” in the south tower on 9/11 and was able to miraculously escape only to die a few years later from cancer. In reality, Santos’s mother, Fatima Alzira Caruso Horta Devolder, who died in 2016, was not in the United States from 1999 to 2003 according to green card records produced by the New York Times. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, in a now-retracted quote from his campaign website, Santos alleged to be the grandson of immigrants who fled Nazi persecution to Ukraine, who then migrated to Belgium, and then to Brazil, and then once more to the U.S. In February of 2022 he told Fox News Digital “that his ancestral name is Zabrovsky, but that he now uses his mother’s maiden name of Devolder, which is Dutch in origin”. It was later revealed by a genealogist hired by CNN that Santos has “no sign of Jewish and/or Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way”. This comes after Santos described that his mother migrated directly from Belgium whereas CNN demonstrated his mother and grandparents to be natives of Brazil. Santos has been lying about several other elements of his identity, some of which he has admitted to, such as his “embellished” resume. In Santos’ resume released by the New York Times, he reports receiving a 3.89 from Baruch College in New York as well as New York University, both of which deny him ever attending. Furthermore, he claims to have worked at Goldman Sachs before entering a career in politics, a position which Goldman Sachs also denies him ever having. Santos admitted in an interview in December of 2022 that he did not in fact work for Goldman Sachs directly, but rather through his own personal company he did work for the financial firm. Santos claims his resume to have a “poor choice of words.” Although politicians such as Santos being caught in their lies is not criminal, some of Santos’s lies could be. In fact, Santos is under fire for being a serial liar in some ways that may require federal investigation. Especially his shady explanations of how he was able to fund his 2022 campaign. On Monday, Jan. 14, a watchdog organization, The Campaign Legal Center, filed a complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for suspicions around a $750,000 loan Santos received to fund his campaign that he defends as being profits from his company the Devolder Organization. However, the watchdog organization speculates that this large investment was actually from a different corporation or furthermore a foreign national, which would violate the FEC. Additionally, the watchdog organization speculates Santos has been using campaign funds to finance himself personally using up to an estimated $40,000 on flights and rent. The personal use of campaign funds also counts as a violation of FEC standards. Violations of the FEC can result in civil penalties from $6,523 to $76,280 according to the FEC. In Brazil furthermore, Santos was under investigation for fraud after he allegedly used a stolen check to buy $700 worth of clothes in a clothing store. In 2009, Santos admitted to the act, writing on a social media website to the shop owner in Brazil, “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay.” However, in 2023 Santos additionally denied having acted criminally in the U.S as well as Brazil. The Rio De Janeiro prosecutor’s office has presented its interest in reopening the case to try Mr. Santos which would be presented to the United States Department of Justice to inform Santos of the case. If Mr. Santos fails to present a defense to these claims in Brazil, it is possible he could face up to five years in prison and furthermore a fine.