George Santos: Compulsive Liar or Stereotypical Politician?

Written By: Thomas d’Esperies

New York’s third congressional district representative, George Santos, is caught up in dozens of lies he told during his campaign, leading to politicians on both sides to call for his resignation. 

When talking about politicians, the most common stereotypes include dishonesty and greed, to name a few. So, it’s somewhat understandable that Congressmen George Santos may have told a few lies to gain power. But, with Santos, where does understandable become excessive?

George Santos is the newly elected Republican Congressman for New York’s third congressional district which encompasses Northwestern Long Island. Santos had previously run in 2020 but was defeated in an election that took days to count. He even showed up for the congressional new member orientation in Washington D.C. before finding out he lost the election. Two years after his 2020 defeat, he would be elected to congress and immediately be caught up in a web of lies.

So, is George Santos a pathological liar? The short answer is no. Medical News Today defines a pathological liar as someone who tells compulsive lies without a clear motive. With Santos, there’s a clear motive, election. 

While many politicians in both parties aren’t fully truthful with their constituents, Santos seems to be a special case. The sheer number of lies he’s told is mind-boggling. What’s even more concerning is that they weren’t even hard to uncover. For most of them, the trust could be found in public records. 

In September of 2022, Long Island’s North Shore newspaper, The North Shore Leader, raised questions about the validity of Santos’ network which had seemingly exploded skywards. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The next time anyone else would question Santos’ statements was not until after he won election. The New York Times published an article accusing Santos of misrepresenting certain aspects of his life and career. Some of Santos’ first lies to be exposed were his claims about college. Santos claimed to have graduated from Baruch College and New York University. Simple enough right? The EducationData Initiative estimates that 20,000,000 Americans enter college each year. That just leaves one problem with Santos’ claims, neither school has any record of him attending. Santos has also lied about his pre-college education.

On top of lying about his education, in late December 2022, several Jewish newspapers reported that Santos alleged that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors who fled Europe, when in reality, both his maternal grandparents were born in Brazil. Santos also lied about working for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. When confronted, Santos did admit these were not true claiming he had been “misunderstood” and showed “courage” by admitting these “mistakes” on national television. But, can these “misunderstandings” really be accepted? 

And what about the other lies where there is no doubt he meant what he said? Santos claimed both his parents had been at the World Trade Center Complex on September 11th and had both survived the attacks. Yet…his mother’s 2003 visa application to return to the U.S. from Brazil claimed she hadn’t been in the country since 1999. His claims are utterly ridiculous. How could a New Yorker ever justify lying about 9/11? 

Republicans and Democrats alike, both across the nation and in New York have called for the disgraced Congressman to resign. Congressman Santos has made his intentions to remain in congress clear, tweeting, “I will NOT resign!” on January 11th despite 78% of voters in his district calling for him to step down.

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