As George Santos’ lies about his past stack up and Long Island prosecutors investigate the Congressman-elect’s admission to having fabricated his backstory, more instances of Santos falsely claiming he is of Jewish descent have emerged.
A thread of these lies — compiled by Forward reporter Jacob Kornbluh on Twitter Wednesday — captured Santos repeatedly fibbing about being a “descendant” of Holocaust survivors and claiming that he’s Jewish.
In one February interview, Santos said, “For a lot of people who are descendants of World War II refugees, or survivors of the Holocaust, a lot of names and paperwork were changed in the name of survival. So I don’t carry the family last name — that would’ve been Zabrovsky.“
In a separate June 2021 appearance on Fox News, Santos said, “My grandparents escaped socialism, they’ve escaped communism and the Holocaust.” That same month, Santos said he “despised” socialism because “my grandparents survived the holocaust” and used images of death camps in campaign videos.
The videos from Kornbluh came after a report by Forward found that Santos claimed Jewish heritage in a two-page paper, calling himself a “proud American Jew” and attesting to having traveled to Israel “numerous times from educational, business, and leisurely trips.” The position was submitted to multiple organizations, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Santos had attempted to deflect questions regarding his ancestry by joking that while he is Catholic, he is “Jew-ish” given his mother’s heritage and asserting that he “never claimed to be Jewish.”
“Humans are flawed… I’m having to admit this on national television for the whole country to see,” he said.
Questions were raised regarding Santos’ Jewish heritage after a Forward investigation was unable to verify his assertions that his maternal grandparents were Ukrainian Jews who had fled Nazi persecution during the Holocaust.
Santos, who is Brazilian-American, had previously claimed to have a Catholic father and Jewish mother. Social media posts reviewed by Forward indicated that his mother, the now deceased Fatima Alzira Caruso Horta Devolder, regularly shared Catholic imagery and followed several Catholic faith-based accounts.
Online genealogy records also indicate that both of Santos’ grandparents were born in Brazil years before the Nazi rise to power in Germany. Members of Santos’ family were not listed in refugee records from the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Santos has milked what he now describes as family lore throughout his campaign and in the aftermath of his election. In November, he made an appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) annual summit, where House Speaker hopeful Kevin McCarthy boasted that Santos was now a part of the largest Republican Jewish caucus in the last two decades. An aide to senior congressional GOP leadership told the New York Post on Monday that Santos’ many lies were somewhat of a “running joke” among the party. The aide did not specify if exaggerations about Santos’ religious heritage were a part of the punchline.
Santos was also invited by the RJC to light the first candle of the organization’s Hanukkah menorah in December.
On Tuesday, the RJC indicated that Santos would not be welcome at any of their events going forward in light of the news.
“We are very disappointed in Congressman-elect Santos,” read a statement released by the group. “He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage. In public comments and to us personally, he previously claimed to be Jewish. He has begun his tenure in Congress on a very wrong note.”
“The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning,” said Long Island’s Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, a Republican. “The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress.”
Donnelly vowed to prosecute any crimes uncovered in her investigation.
This story was updated on Dec. 28 at 7:30 pm ET to include new instances of Santos lying about his heritage, and details surrounding a Long Island investigation.