By Joanna Reid
George Santos is a representative of the Republican party for New York’s 3rd congressional district who was elected this past year. He has recently been in the public eye after misleading those same voters about the money he got for his own campaign, committing a felony, and for lying on several accounts.
It was not reported until well after the election that Santos took out two loans from his personal funds, amounting to about $700,000, which went towards his campaign. Because so little is known about Santos, it is a concern where he got this large sum of money from in the first place. As a member of Congress, Santos is required to release a report with his income over $1,000, investments over $1,000, stock purchases, stock sales and any loans in which he owes over $10,000. He is supposed to file this within 30 days after starting his term. As of now, this information has not been published. Releasing this information may give us some insight on where he got the money for his campaign. At the very least the public will gain knowledge about his income.
On top of his mysterious campaign loans, Santos has committed fraud. While he lived in Brazil, he stole a checkbook from the person his mother worked for and spent around $700. He has yet to be tried for this crime as he has not returned to Brazil since.
Furthermore, he has lied about many serious things. This is wrong because supporters do not know who is truly representing them. For example, Santos stated that his mother died on 9/11 because she worked in the World Trade Center. New information has come out to show that this is likely untrue and his mother was not in the country at the time of the attacks. At the same time, Santos has also claimed his mother died due to cancer. It’s clear that he’s lying as he continues to contradict himself. It’s disheartening that someone would lie about something that has affected millions of Americans.
According to the “New York Times” he lied about being Jewish in a campaign position paper. Why would someone lie about being a part of an ethnic group that constantly faces discrimination? I suppose he thought relating to a minority would help him gain more votes or draw more attention to him. Additionally, he claimed that his grandparents were forced to flee persecution during World War II to survive the Holocaust. After CNN reviewed his family history, Jewish heritage could not be traced back to Santos. All of this makes me question his character as he has no idea what it's like to be Jewish or face prejudice based on his religion. And on his resume he stated that he attended Baruch College, a predominantly Jewish college in New York City. Since then, Santos told the “New York Post” that this was false.
Santos has now admitted to fabricating much of his resume. Some are speculating that he copied a lot of the experience on his resume from his previous boss. As a college student that is soon to go out into the workforce, I am particularly alarmed by this because I worry people will be influenced by Santos’s decision to lie on his resume.
Some other things he’s lied about are working on Wall Street and creating a charity for animals. Both of these things have proven to be untrue. I suppose that he thought that these things would give him legitimacy and respect, but it has now done the exact opposite.
In all of these cases, I question the media. It was their job to uncover the truth about Santos. All of this should have been done prior to the election. Sure, it was the voters' responsibility to do their own research. However, if reporters had come out with information sooner, people may have reconsidered voting for Santos.
On the other hand, it seems as though Republican voters were not concerned with what kind of person Santos is morally. As long as Santos upheld conservative beliefs (which he has), people were willing to vote for him. Essentially Santos is just being used as a pawn because Republicans fear the Democrats’ gaining another seat in the house. Despite the fact that some Republicans are now speaking out against Santos, they should have examined his ideology beforehand.
People must continue to be cautious of whom they are voting for. It’s not a good idea to solely vote based on party. People must take into account the beliefs, character and pasts of politicians as well. If one cannot find sufficient information on whom they are voting for, it's probably better to vote for someone who has a history of working in politics and strong ethics.