As the Republicans’ on-again-off-again, will-they-won’t-they romance with Kevin McCarthy drags on, Cockburn has found refuge in a genuinely entertaining drama. Each day offers another layer to the George Santos tall-tale trifle — and as the mainstream media purports to be shocked that a politician would lie about something (gasp!), Cockburn is gobbling it up.
Just yesterday, for instance, Cockburn learned the Republican congressman from New York lied about being a “‘star player’ on the volleyball team for a college [CUNY Baruch] that he did not attend” (per Business Insider).
Cockburn also enjoyed hearing how Santos was involved in a Ponzi scheme fewer than two years ago. According to the Washington Post, “During his first run for Congress in 2020, Santos reported earning a salary of $55,000 from a previous employer in the financial industry. His fortunes then improved dramatically, according to the financial disclosure he filed during his 2022 campaign: he earned an annual salary of $750,000 and received more than $1 million in dividends from [a business he registered called] the Devolder Organization.”
Other things Santos has said that are dubious, or straight-up untrue, include claims that he is Jewish (or “Jew-ish” as he attempted to clarify), his grandparents were victims of the Holocaust and that he “lost four employees” in the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting. After being accused of lying about his sexuality, Santos clarified that he was “very much gay.” (New York magazine has compiled a list of his lies so far, here for your reading pleasure.)
And when ABC’s Rachel Scott and other congressional reporters confronted him with all this, did the new congressman apologize or show any contrition? Did he pledge to resign? Heck no: he just brushed them off and flounced into the elevator:
George Santos spent another day dodging questions on Capitol Hill as he’s accused of fabricating almost every single part of his life. pic.twitter.com/gNPnJ4x3aO
— Rachel Scott (@rachelvscott) January 9, 2023
— Rachel Scott (@rachelvscott) January 11, 2023
Former GOP congressman and current CNN host Adam Kinzinger tweeted that he should “resign now.” Santos responded, “Go on CNN and cry about it.”
Santos is facing all sorts of investigations, and many other GOP lawmakers are calling for him to resign. But Cockburn thinks George Santos, if that is his real name — and it might not be — is the perfect type of person to fill a seat in Congress. Who, after all, among us has not “embellished” our résumés here and there now and then? The New York Times reminds us that doing so in the political sphere is nothing new:
Joseph R. Biden Jr. admitted to overstating his academic record in the 1980s: “I exaggerate when I’m angry,” he said at the time. Hillary Clinton conceded that she “misspoke” in 2008 about dodging sniper fire on an airport tarmac during a 1996 visit to Bosnia as first lady, an anecdote she employed to highlight her experience with international crises. And Senator Elizabeth Warren apologized in 2019 for her past claims of Native American ancestry.
And remember when John Kerry’s whoppers launched a movement of Swift Boat veterans opposed to his presidency? And how the Times labeled Biden the “Storyteller in Chief” for telling fictional accounts of having been “an award-winning student who earned three degrees,” “raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically,” and, Cockburn’s favorite — a tractor-trailer driver, among many, many other falsehoods.
In telling lie after lie throughout his campaign, George Santos was just trying to one-up the other renowned political leaders who fib their way through the corridors of power. Of course, if further evidence of fraud or criminal wrongdoing emerges, Santos should be held to account — but on lying, Cockburn is all for cutting the guy some slack.
After all, this is the age of alternate realities. Santos has simply taken self-identifying to new heights. It’s endearing, when you think about it. Santos was so eager to give the people what they want — an ethnically diverse gay guy and victim of a hate crime — that he risked his career to do it. If Santos can dupe GOP donors into giving him $3 million for his campaign, imagine how much money he can trick the Dems into giving the House majority!
If nothing else, Cockburn thinks the establishment would be wise to keep Santos around to distract from their own bogus statements and blunders. Cockburn has found it’s helpful to keep company with people way less ethical (and uglier) than himself to look good by comparison.
George Santos brings out the inner Pontius Pilate in all of us. What is truth, anyway?