One Word: Lies: Congressman-elect George Santos is facing increasing calls to resign this week after he admitted that he fabricated parts of his resume and lied about his education, employment history, and even his faith.
Earlier this month, The New York Times first reported that it could not substantiate many of Santos’ alleged qualifications – notably that he graduated from Baruch College or that he had worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
George Santos, who ran as a Republican for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, made history in November when he defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman – flipping the seat from blue to red. The contest had also marked the first time two openly gay congressional candidates had gone head-to-head in a general election.
“A lot of people overstate in their resumes or twist a little bit,” Santos told WABC radio. “I’m not saying I’m not guilty of that.”
The Congressman-elect has further admitted that he didn’t graduate from Baruch College or any institution of higher learning, and said that he had “embellished” his resume.
Even as the House GOP leadership has been silent on the matter, the Nassau County district attorney’s office said Wednesday that it was “looking into” the fabrications.
George Santos Is Part of the Problem: Politicians Lie – A Lot!
The calls for Santos to resign come just days after President Joe Biden was “fact-checked” for statements he made about awarding his late uncle Frank Biden the Purple Heart for service in the Second World War. It was the latest in a string of questionable tall tales told by Biden.
Santos wouldn’t be the first politician to “fib” about his background. Sadly for our nation, he isn’t likely to be the last either.
Some of the questionable politician statements have been forgotten or at least downplayed, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) claiming she was a “Native American,” but other lies have been so significant that careers were ruined. This was certainly the case with New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner who sent explicit photos to a 21-year-old woman via Twitter. Weiner initially blamed “hackers” and then suggested the photos were doctored. He eventually admitted he had sent the photos, and resigned from Congress in 2011.
President Bill Clinton was famously impeached after he lied under oath that he didn’t have “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was acquitted in the United States Senate, but his presidency will likely be remembered for Lewinsky more than anything else.
Of course, we wouldn’t have the term “Watergate” were it not for the bungled break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters by five men working for a committee to re-elect President Richard Nixon. Tape recordings made by Nixon in his office showed that he had lied and then attempted to cover up activities related to the break-in, and facing almost certain impeachment in Congress, he resigned in 1974.
The Lying Kings
It could be argued that we have come to accept a certain “level” of lies from our elected officials. This has been true of those who have sat in the Oval Office.
Both former President Donald Trump and President Biden are men who “go off script.” They each have a tendency to adlib oftentimes with statements surely meant to pad their egos.
Trump has been accused of making tens of thousands of false or misleading statements during his term in office, but nothing was so damaging for our nation’s democracy than the claim – without evidence – that the 2020 election was stolen or rigged. The courts threw out a total of 63 lawsuits after they failed to substantiate any of their conspiratorial claims.
Trump wasn’t the first to make such bold claims when facing an election loss.
Hillary Clinton spent four years, essentially in a state of denial, trying to explain how she didn’t lose the 2016 election. The former secretary of state couldn’t accept that she ran a bad campaign and that Americans wouldn’t simply provide her with a coronation. Yet, her supporters – and more importantly Trump’s detractors – went on to mount a campaign that Trump was an illegitimate president.
That fact doesn’t excuse Trump’s actions, but it helps explain them.
The same is true with Santos, given all the lies Biden has spewed throughout his career. Biden may be called out for his lies, but he’s never really punished for them.
Can we, therefore, expect the next guy or gal (to use Bideneseque terminology) to do anything differently? We’ve had terrible role models in our elected officials. Some of the lies may seem bigger than others, and some may seem more dangerous to our democracy, but it is still important to remember that a lie to gain an advantage isn’t a simple fib.
It is a serious problem.
We used to joke, “Do you know how to tell when politicians are lying?” The punch line was “Their lips are moving.” It wasn’t really funny, but no one should be laughing about any lies now. It isn’t enough that we fact-check our elected officials.
The lies should be enough to disqualify Trump, Biden, George Santos, and anyone else who simply doesn’t know how to tell the truth.
More: Is Donald Trump Going Crazy?
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.