Goodbye to George Santos, Our Favorite Congressman

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Honestly, who hasn’t lied a touch on a resume?

Today is a dark day: Congressman George Santos, Capitol Hill’s most fabulous fabulist, has been cruelly expelled from the House. My God, what a moralistic era we live in! Can’t a man who federal prosecutors accuse of “brazen misrepresentations and fraudulent schemes”—such as defrauding donors and lying to both Congress and the Federal Election Commission—serve out his duly elected term in peace? He’s pleaded not guilty, for God’s sake! 

I mean, yes, I also saw that report from the so-called “House Ethics Committee”: the donor money spent on Botox and OnlyFans and Ferragamo shoes. The rehashing of his fascinating campaign biography. (College volleyball star! Descendant of Holocaust survivors! Heir to a hefty trust fund, which his mother left him upon perishing in the World Trade Center on 9/11!) “No part of that backstory has been found to be true,” the pedants on the Ethics Committee claim with mind-bending literalism. Honestly, who hasn’t lied a touch on a resume? And if you had a bunch of cash sloshing around, wouldn’t you also spend $4,127 at Hermès?

Santos has few vocal defenders right now, and as a person of great moral courage, I’ll say what everyone else must be thinking: That we’ll miss him. It was quite an era! Santos bopping around Longworth in his signature outfit: blazer, sweater, chinos, Ray Bans—an ensemble that the Washington Post once said made him look like a “freshman at a prep school in hell.” Remember when he dragged someone’s baby through the hallway while screaming at a gentleman about Israel? That was fun, but even better was when he claimed that he was personally discovered by Steven Spielberg, leading to an acting role in Hannah Montana

Let’s be honest with ourselves. What did we want from George Santos? The truth? I don’t think so. His real biography is kind of meh: immigrated to Queens from Brazil, grew up the poor son of a housekeeper, worked in a bleak Dish Network call center while nursing an intense ambition that ultimately got him elected to Congress, the first out-gay Republican to do so in the history of the whole United States. Who cares?? This isn’t some Hollywood rags-to-riches, Little Orphan Annie situation—this is the cruel world of American politics, where it’s so much more Congressional to be a trust fund kid who made millions at Goldman Sachs.

And let’s not forget the heroism. After being awarded a volleyball scholarship to Baruch, George Santos played so hard that both of his knees were replaced before the age of 35. Isn’t that the kind of person who would move heaven and earth to represent the interests of the third Congressional district of New York? Well, technically he didn’t actually attend Baruch, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when Roll Call reported this summer that Santos was doing so little constituent work that other offices were having to shoulder it for him.

No, it’s not a great look to be a Congressman who, after losing his committee assignments, didn’t use his free time to help his district. And yeah, I’ll admit that some of his antics have been a bit unsavory: his tenure at a “100% legitimate” financial firm that the SEC later called a Ponzi scheme, all those hot checks he allegedly wrote to Amish puppy breeders, the homeless veteran who claims that his dog died when Santos stole the money he raised for veterinary care. If pressed, I might have questions about the odd spate of campaign charges for $199.99, exactly one cent below the amount that would require a receipt. 

But you have to weigh the good with the bad, and this man is the stuff of legend. What about that press conference, on the eve of his expulsion, where he bravely fact checked the assembled media? How dare they ask if his blue Ferragamo loafers were purchased illegally with campaign money! “Go on the website,” he reportedly said. “They’re six years old!” 

Now that Santos has been expelled, he apparently plans to pack up his DC apartment and return to New York—a tremendous loss for all of us in Washington. Without George Santos, I am now in need of another member of Congress to admire. Maybe I’ll try Lauren Boebert—I hear she’s a patron of the arts.

Sylvie McNamara

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