On Monday, we learned that Representative-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.) allegedly fabricated large parts of his biography, including where he went to college, his employment history, and losing multiple employees in the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Santos didn’t comment for the New York Times piece, but hours after it published, his lawyer shared a bizarre statement on Twitter in which he denied nothing and misattributed a quote to Winston Churchill.
Now, Jewish outlet The Forward has done its own investigation on Santos, and based on their review of genealogy websites, they allege he is not Jewish as he has claimed and that his grandparents did not flee Nazi persecution in Europe during World War II.
The Times described this part of his biography thusly:
“Mr. Santos has said he was born in Queens to parents who emigrated from Brazil and was raised in the borough. His father, he has said, is Catholic and has roots in Angola. His mother, Fatima Devolder, was descended from migrants who fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine and World War II strife in Belgium. Mr. Santos has described himself as a nonobservant Jew but has also said he is Catholic.”
Santos’ own website says: “George’s grandparents fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.”
But The Forward found that Santos’ maternal grandparents—Rosalina and Paulo Devolder—were both born in Brazil. The outlet also said that Santos doesn’t even appear to be Jewish, because “neither of his maternal grandparents appear in Brazilian immigration cards in the 1930s or 1940s, or in the databases of Yad Vashem or the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which list European Jewish refugees.”
Santos did not respond to multiple requests for comment by The Forward, nor did he immediately respond to Jezebel. Matt Brooks, head of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the outlet that the group “is aware of the claims being made against Congressman-elect George Santos, and we have reached out to his office directly to ascertain whether they are true. These allegations, if true, are deeply troubling. Given their seriousness, the Congressman-elect owes the public an explanation, and we look forward to hearing it.”
It’s one thing to fib about minor details, but Santos appears to have lied about so much of his narrative that it now borders on pathological. And once again, it would have been great for voters to have had any of this information before the November 8 election—which was Santos’ second time on the ballot.