You may need to read that headline more than once. Take your time.
Rep. George Santos, the recently-elected GOP congressman from New York, hit the headlines in a big way after having admitted to lying about parts of his resume.
The embattled 34-year-old became a huge talking point online, after being branded a “compulsive liar” when various “facts” about the gay Republican were found to be untrue. Santos faced multiple calls to resign over claims he fabricated a large fraction of his resume in order to win his seat.
As a result of all the online chatter, social media users began to dig deeper about the representative for New York’s 3rd congressional district, and he has now been accused of two additional controversies – both of which he has denied.
George Santos when he went by the name Anthony Devolder:
— Queer Insider 🏳️🌈 🏳️⚧️ (@qitweets) January 14, 2023
The first being from a disabled US Navy veteran from New Jersey named Richard Osthoff, who alleges that Santos took money from a GoFundMe which had been setup for his dying dog.
Richard Osthoff told Patch that when his service pit bull, Sapphire, developed a stomach tumour in 2016, he enlisted Santos to help in raising $3,000 (£2,417) for the dog’s surgery.
Osthoff claims that a veterinary technician had connected him with Santos, who was using the name Anthony Devolder at the time, saying that he ran a charity named Friends of Pets United and could help raise money for the lifesaving surgery.
Santos allegedly managed the GoFundMe page on Sapphire’s behalf, but then suddenly disappeared, with Osthoff claiming he “stopped answering my texts and calls”.
When later confronted by a friend of Osthoff, Santos allegedly said he planned to use the money to help other animals.
Mr Osthoff told Patch that Sapphire eventually died in January 2017 and he was unable to afford cremation or euthanasia.
“The reports that I would let a dog die is shocking & insane,” the lawmaker tweeted Thursday morning, responding to the accusations. “My work in animal advocacy was the labor of love & hard work.”
The reports that I would let a dog die is shocking & insane. My work in animal advocacy was the labor of love & hard work. Over the past 24hr I have received pictures of dogs I helped rescue throughout the years along with supportive messages.
These distractions won’t stop me!
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) January 19, 2023
George Santos the drag queen?
The second set of allegations levelled at Santos came just one day earlier, when it was reported that the staunchly conservative gay Republican competed as a drag queen in Brazilian beauty pageants, some 15 years ago.
A 58-year-old Brazilian performer, who uses the stage name Eula Rochard, said the two had become friends in 2005, when she met the now congressman in drag, during the first Pride parade in Niteroi, a Rio de Janeiro suburb.
Three years later, Santos competed in a drag beauty pageant in Rio, Rochard told Reuters.
It’s being reported in legitimate press that George Santos was a drag queen.
Given Santos’s lying and fraudulent past, it would be poetic justice for the Republican party, that has been railing against drag queens, to have one in their ranks.
Smile pic of the day. pic.twitter.com/TCSWko240E
— Michael J. Stern (@MichaelJStern1) January 19, 2023
A second person from Niteroi who knew the 34-year-old congressman, but asked not to be named, reportedly said he participated in drag queen beauty pageants and aspired to be Miss Gay Rio de Janeiro.
While anyone doing drag certainly shouldn’t be controversial, Santos is aligned with Republican leaders who say drag queens are “grooming” kids. He also supported Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill and other anti-LGBTQ+ movements.
The congressman said on Twitter on Thursday that claims “that I am a drag Queen or ‘performed’ as a drag Queen” are “categorically false,” adding: “I will not be distracted nor fazed by this.”
The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag Queen or “performed” as a drag Queen is categorically false.
The media continues to make outrageous claims about my life while I am working to deliver results.
I will not be distracted nor fazed by this.
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) January 19, 2023
George Santos is the openly gay son of immigrants, who had graduated from Baruch College, a public college in New York, before going on to work at firms like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Santos eventually became a successful financier who started an animal rescue charity.
Or… that’s what we were told.
As revealed in the New York Times on December 19, after he won the 2022 election but before he took office in January 2023, Santos apparently did not graduate from Baruch College, he did not work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, there were no records of him being a successful financier, nor were there of him registering his animal rescue charity. The Times also reported that he had been charged with check fraud in Brazil.
Further, a number of outlets have found no evidence of Santos’s repeated claims to be Jewish, to have Jewish heritage, or to be descended from refugees fleeing the Holocaust.
At the 47 second mark. George Santos deliberately flashes White Supremacist sign. Confirming what we all knew already! pic.twitter.com/matPLZGBkw
— Mazen🏌️♂️🤷♂️⛳️ (@JustAMazen) January 18, 2023
Santos then hit the headlines again, being accused of flashing an alleged white-power symbol on the House floor on Thursday.
In the now-viral image, he can be seen forming an OK gesture, a symbol that the Anti-Defamation League calls “a sincere expression of white supremacy.”
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