Despite everything, George Santos is set to be sworn into Congress on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old Republican who won the race to represent New York’s 3rd District has faced intense scrutiny since The New York Times reported last month that he appeared to have made up large portions of his backstory, including his education, his employment history, his financial dealings, and even that some of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. The Times report was only the beginning, however, and it’s since become clear that Santos essentially conned his way into office. Democrats and even some Republicans have called for a congressional investigation.
Santos spent his first morning on Capitol Hill doing what he could to avoid the press, and when he couldn’t, refusing to answer their questions.
He also reportedly got lost trying to find his office.
The only question Santos did answer was about whether he planned to vote for Kevin McCarthy for House speaker. He said yes.
Santos has admitted he lied about portions of his background, including his education and employment history, but has stressed that he’s “not a fraud” and that he intends to serve in Congress despite duping his constituents. There’s no telling, however, where Santos’ lies end and the truth begins. He also appears to have lied about being Jewish and his grandparents surviving the Holocaust, as well as his mother dying of 9/11-related illnesses.
There are no rules to keep Santos out of Congress, and it will now be up to House Republicans to discipline him — which probably isn’t likely considering the kinds of changes that could be coming to the House Ethics Committee. Santos is, however, reportedly facing a federal criminal investigation over his dubious financial dealings, as well as an investigation by prosecutors in Long Island, where Santos won his seat last November. The Times reported on Monday that prosecutors in Brazil are reopening a fraud case against him, as well.
The scandals haven’t earned Santos many friends in Congress. He was seen sitting alone in the House chamber on Tuesday.
Santos better enjoy it. It will likely be the last Congress he’s invited to see commence.