Long Island Republican Rep.-elect George Santos reportedly lied about having Jewish grandparents who fled the Holocaust, adding to the mounting questions about his bogus resumé.
Contrary to Santos’ emotive claims, his grandparents were actually born in Brazil, not Ukraine, and could not have escaped the Nazis before and during World War II, the Forward, an independent Jewish news organization, reported on Wednesday.
Geneology sites say Santos’s maternal grandfather, Paulo Horta Devolder, was born in 1918, and his grandmother, Rosalina Caruso Horta Devolder, in 1927, both in Brazil, according to the Forward.
They may not even have been Jewish at all. Santos’s mother, Fatima Devolder, who died in 2016, had a Facebook page but never mentioned “Jew” or “Jewish,” nor common Jewish terms like Yom Kippur or Israel in either English or Portuguese, which is the official language of Brazil.
The report contradicts the opening sentence in the “About George” biography on Santos’s campaign web site: “George’s grandparents fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.”
The Republican Jewish Committee says it has asked Santos for an explanation but has not heard back.
“These allegations, if true, are deeply troubling,” Matt Brooks, executive director of the RJC, said in a statement.
The questions are only the latest gaping holes in the resume of Santos, who handily flipped the NY-03 congressional seat formerly held by Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) in the midterm elections.
Santos, 34, has also portrayed himself as a trailblazing gay conservative and self-made immigrant from Brazil. He also says he’s half-Jewish.
“I always joke: I’m Jew-ish,” Santos told the Jewish News Service in a recent interview in which he repeated the Holocaust claims.
Previous explosive reports suggest Santos concocted educational and employment claims, including stints at Baruch College and Goldman Sachs. Much of his official biography appears to be created of whole cloth.
Democrats are demanding Santos resign and face ethics and criminal investigations.
“[Santos] appears to be a complete and utter fraud,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the Democratic leader in the new House.
Santos, who would represent most of the North Shore and a slice of eastern Queens, has not substantively responded to the allegations. A statement from his lawyer dismissed the reports as Democratic smears, although it did not specifically deny them.
Santos also faces questions about his finances.
After listing no assets and a salary of just $55,000 during a failed 2020 congressional run, Santos reported millions of dollars in assets in what he called a family-owned financial firm called the Devolder Group.
He used the murky newfound wealth to loan his campaign a $700,000, according to federal campaign documents.
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