Since Monday, newly elected Jorge Santos has been at the center of a broader political controversy in the United States. A Republican has falsified his entire biography to the extent that he can trace his grandparents who fled Nazism during World War II. However, it is a potential tissue of lies that cannot prevent him from sitting in Congress.
who is he Where does he come from? What is he doing? Questions have been piling up about Jorge Santos for decades. Shocking information from the New York Times In a profile of newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Currently, at the age of 34, “the only certainty is that this son of Brazilian immigrants won in November 2022. [lors des élections de mi-mandat, NDLR] A district in New York carried by the Democrats”, Vox news site notes. It was also a victory for Jorge Santos, who became the first openly gay conservative to join Congress without previously holding elected office.
100% fake CV?
But for others, Jorge Santos will be a clean sheet. In fact, the New York Times says, “he built his candidacy on the idea that he embodied the very essence of the American dream,” and in fact, he had it all figured out.
The story he sold to New York voters was that of a young man pulling himself out of a disadvantaged background — a poor family, a public school curriculum. [ce qui est considéré comme un handicap aux États-Unis, NDLR] – Become a skilled financier with millions of riches.
The biography he wrote for his campaign website – Now only accessible at Web-archive.org – Jobs with Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs or Citigroup are mentioned.
George Santos says he has become “one of the youngest vice presidents in the industry [financier]”. A success story would have allowed him to become rich and devote part of his wealth to various charities, such as supporting children with epidermolysis bullosa – a very rare skin disease.
This Republican would be America’s ideal son-in-law, who still wants to believe in the “dream” of the self-made man. The New York Times contacted Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, but both denied knowledge of the former employee, Jorge Santos.
Baruch College, the public university that awarded George Santos his degree, has no trace of an alumnus with such a surname. There is also a discrepancy in the dates. Jorge Santos says he earned a finance degree in 2010, and the New York Times confirms he was in Brazil at the time, where the justice system was troubled by a dark history of check fraud.
But the newly elected Republican is not the only one suspected of reinventing his professional CV. Contrary to George Santos’ claims, the animal welfare association he claims to lead is not registered as a non-profit organization.
But there would have been friends for pets, notes the New York Times. The daily found traces of a fundraiser organized by this association for a project to help abandoned animals… But the beneficiary of this action – who wished to remain anonymous – assured the New York Times. Friends have never seen the color of the money collected. For a pet.
After these revelations, Jorge Santos remains silent. Only his lawyer spoke to reassure him that it was “not surprising”. [son client] The New York Times has adversaries who want to tarnish his good name with libelous accusations”.
A financial mystery
The New York Times is no longer the only one advocating that George Santos is a “serial liar.” Other media outlets discovered that he had also falsified his family history. Officially, his mother was born in Brazil to Jewish parents who fled persecution in Ukraine to settle in Belgium before joining South America during World War II.
This family saga allowed Jorge Santos to present himself as a “Latin Jew,” a politically significant label in the cosmopolitan city of New York.
However, there is no trace to confirm this exodus. American Jewish magazine The Forward has been fishing for genealogical information from Brazilian authorities, according to The Forward.. A new story has been confirmed by CNN that indicates Jorge Santos’ grandparents were born in Brazil before World War II.
Finally, there is the mystery of his finances. George Santos has been on a roll in recent months, as his last job — at financial consulting firm DeVolter Organization — helped him become a multi-millionaire. The North Shore Leader, a local newspaper in Long Island, New York, reports.
He has loaned his campaign team more than $700,000 and owns several buildings worth more than ten million dollars. Again, there is no record of him owning any houses, and in 2020 he was still a tenant in a small apartment. His company doesn’t declare any clients, and no one knows where the money comes from, which is then transferred to its CEO.
Republican support after all?
“Congress already has its share of scandals, but with Jorge Santos, this is a completely unprecedented affair that shakes up this institution,” Vox says. How can you believe this Republican can get away with so many myths? “Part of the ‘genius’ of George Santos is that these ‘lies’ are often about mundane things. For example, who would find a degree from Baruch College rather than Harvard? Director of the Center for American Policy at University College London.
He felt strengthened in his approach by the general political climate of the United States. After Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House, “we don’t know very well what is unacceptable corruption in America,” said Richard Johnson, an expert on American politics at Queen Mary University of London.
It may seem surprising that such blatant lies could have escaped his hapless opponent in the November 2022 election. The party only vetted another candidate very late, which meant it didn’t have much time to do in-depth research on its rival. Richard Johnson notes.
These lies can land him in legal trouble. Misrepresentations, including financial ones, during campaigning can result in heavy fines and up to five years in prison. But the New York Times notes that “malicious intent is extremely difficult to prove in this type of business.”
The icing on the cake, despite the avalanche of revelations, is that “the Republican Party can support him as much as possible,” said John Herbert, a political scientist at Keele University. As such, the Jorge Santos case “is a prime example of the escalation of ‘negative political bias’ in the United States, where one party agrees to defend unacceptable positions because it prevents the opposition from scoring points,” he says. Richard Johnson.
Jorge Santos has, in fact, won a district that was not carried by Republicans. If the latter no longer wants him in Congress, a new vote will be held “and there’s a good chance the Republican Party will lose a seat when the balance of power is already very tense,” summarizes John Herbert.
For now, George Santos can also count on the opportunistic support of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He is, in fact, the leader of the group of Republicans, who are very divided on his nomination for the presidency of the House of Representatives, experts interviewed by France 24 note. Jorge Santos had the good idea to announce his support for the candidacy. The day the New York Times published its revelations about Kevin McCarthy’s fictional biography of the “serial liar.”
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