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February 7, 2023 5:40 pm

Ethics Probe Expected for ‘Jew-ish’ Rep. George Santos


avatar by Andrew Bernard

George Santos. Photo: YouTube screenshot

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday said that he expects that the House Ethics Committee will investigate embattled Congressman George Santos (R-NY), who is alleged to have lied extensively about his personal and professional background and whose campaign disclosures have raised legal questions about his finances.

Santos asserted for years that his maternal grandparents were Jews who fled persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and survived the Holocaust by fleeing to Brazil during World War II. Those claims all appear to be false, with records indicating that Santos’ grandparents were born in Brazil. Santos has also made false claims about his mother being a 9/11 survivor, and about his work and educational experience. Santos has acknowledged “embellishing” his background, and said that he only described himself as “Jew-ish,” not Jewish, despite having counted himself among incoming Jewish Republicans at a Republican Jewish Coalition event in December.

Speaker McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he expected the House Ethics Committee would get answers about Santos. He later clarified to CNN that while Santos is the subject of Ethics Committee complaints, an investigation had not yet formally been opened.

Two Congressmen who have filed complaints with the Ethics Committee against Santos, Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Dan Goldman (D-NY), held a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday with a bipartisan group of Santos’ constituents from New York’s 3rd Congressional district calling for Santos’ resignation and for Speaker McCarthy to hold a vote to expel Santos.

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“The fact that George Santos resigned from his committees is an admission of guilt,” Torres said. “And if George Santos is too corrupt and too compromised to be seated on a committee, then it logically follows that he’s too corrupt and too compromised to be seated in the United States Congress.”

On Thursday, Santos took a shot at Torres on Twitter for his vote against removing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs committee over her past anti-Israel statements and use of antisemitic tropes.

“Regrettably [Ritchie Torres] who calls himself pro Israel voted to keep an antisemite in the foreign affairs committee… so much for ‘supporting’ Israel & the Jewish community, I guess it’s all lip service when you come to NY03 & fundraise from my Jewish constituents,” Santos wrote. 

Torres replied that the phrasing of the accusation itself was antisemitic.

“You do realize that mentioning your Jewish constituents in terms of fundraising perpetuates the same antisemitic trope that you have attributed to Ilhan Omar?” Torres asked. “And since you mentioned your Jewish constituents, maybe you should listen to them?” he said, citing polling that 94% of Santos’ Jewish constituents want him to resign.

Santos has said he does not intend to resign.

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