George Santos, a New York Republican who will be a representative, belongs to a group that regularly uses deception, factual fabrications, and misdirection to further its own political goals. However, when the new Congress meets this week, it is probable that Santos’ nascent political career may end abruptly due to the falsehoods he has uttered. How did he accomplish this uncommon distinction?
The fundamental issue is that he hasn’t been telling the correct types of falsehoods.
Big falsehoods are acceptable on the right when it comes to capitalizing on the preexisting biases, prejudices, and distrust of the base, as the Trump era has shown us. However, Santos’ amateurish falsehoods about his past and education are about him rather than his alleged adversaries, and the sheer volume and breadth of them have startled and alarmed his friends. The GOP is less likely to put up with Santos’ misinformation because it lacks the essential electoral advantage of energizing the base.
Trump’s most persuasive falsehoods tapped into basic assumptions that his supporters already held.
If you haven’t been following the strange Santos tale, it turns out that he lied about a startling amount of personal facts that undoubtedly contributed to his popularity during his successful run for Congress. In recent weeks, reports from a variety of news sources have shown that he has made false statements about his education, employment, mother’s passing, religion, and connections to Holocaust survivors.
Santos has reluctantly acknowledged to many of the major fabrications about his past, but he has refused to resign and has acted in a humorously casual manner since the world learned that his whole personal story was essentially fabricated. As a matter of minor exaggeration, he downplays his pattern of deceit, and he begs for people to move on since “we all make mistakes.”
Because the most popular Republican in America is, in many respects, a phony, maybe Santos believes he can get away with being a fraud. But thus far, he isn’t exactly seeing results. One of Santos’ new Republican colleagues has already called for a House ethics probe over his lying; a senior Republican congressman from Texas has said Santos should consider resignation; and Fox News unexpectedly raked Santos over the coals for his lies in a difficult interview.
Federal prosecutors are also looking into the finance and spending of his campaign, some of which have previously been reported by The New York Times to be questionable. Santos would be in severe difficulty if the Republican leadership turned against him; if he refuses to quit, the House may eject Santos from Congress using a method that is at its disposal. Even while I wouldn’t bank on the GOP leadership doing well in this situation, it’s interesting considering why Santos’ falsehoods sound so startling to some of its own members.
View the whole MSNBC Live Streaming video here.