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The Talented Mr. Santos

george santos and his fabrications
“One person said to me there at 60 to 80 crazy people running. We can’t investigate them all,” Robert Zimmerman told Bill about his entreaties to the media to investigate George Santos. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
January 25, 2023

In the early morning hours of December 19, a month after the self-proclaimed redeemer George Santos pulled off his somewhat surprising victory in New York’s uber-wealthy 3rd congressional district, The New York Times published its first gangbusters, multi-bylined, report unraveling his various tall tales, lies, mistruths, and fabrications. Surprise, surprise, Santos had never worked at Goldman Sachs, nor Citigroup, nor was he Jewish. Nor did his mother die on 9/11, nor is his given name George Santos. It’s hard to keep up, to be honest.

Before he’d even been sworn in to support Kevin McCarthy’s narrow Republican majority in the House, Santos was already an enigma, seemingly spun-up by central casting as ready-made for a sublime Jon Lovitz send up. In November, he defeated candidate Robert Zimmerman by some 20,000 votes, 53.8 percent to 46.2 percent to carry a big chunk of Long Island’s so-called Gold Coast, including such tony north shore towns as Locust Valley, Syosset, Roslyn, Old Brookville and Oyster Bay, as well as parts of northeast Queens—a very prosperous district with a median household income of around $130,000 and population of about 750,000.