The volume and scale of new GOP representative George Santos’s untruths boggles the mind. The New York congressman has lied about: where he went to high school; where he went to college; working at Goldman Sachs; founding an animal charity; his mother dying in 9/11; his grandmother being a Holocaust victim; his employees dying in the Pulse Orlando shooting, and being Jewish. Plus, there are multiple investigations into his finances, and the loans he made to himself while running for office; he may face fraud charges in his native Brazil and has been accused of operating a Ponzi scheme.
Given all this, it seems reasonable to ask: who would risk their reputation — and time — to work for the man? Cockburn has done some digging into the folks who are putting in the hours for DC’s most contentious congressman. Two of his staffers have a history of working with, shall we say, controversial lawmakers.
First on the list is Santos’s chief of staff, Charles Lovett. Lovett is probably in his mid-twenties and previously worked for Ohio’s Josh Mandel, who was beaten in the Republican Senate primary by J.D. Vance. Before taking his current job, Lovett worked on Santos’s campaign from June 2022 as manager and then transition aid — so he has been one of Santos’s little helpers for some time.
As legislative assistant, Santos has Rafaello Carone, who is in his early twenties and runs Liberty & Justice Consulting. Carone has worked for some of the House’s most notorious GOP members. In September 2022, he was serving as press secretary for Representative Paul Gosar, the Arizona Republican who once posted an anime video of him killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and who keeps accidentally hanging out with and promoting far-right groyper chief Nick Fuentes. Carone also worked as social media manager from February 2021 to August 2021 for one-term congressman Madison Cawthorn: a man who was far from immune from social media problems.
For the position of operations director, Santos hired Vish Burra, who is in his thirties and previously served as Congressman Matt Gaetz’s special projects coordinator from May 2021 to March 2022. Burra, the vice-president of the New York Young Republicans, previously worked for Steve Bannon and played a crucial role putting his boss in touch with the New York Post‘s Emma-Jo Morris, the reporter who broke the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Santos’s pick for communications director is Naysa Woomer, who has a less controversial record. She worked at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in communications from March 2019 to January 2022, and for the Massachusetts GOP from April 2018 to February 2019. Before that, she was on the staff of Representatives Thomas Massie, Ryan Costello and Tim Huelskamp. Cockburn imagines handling comms for Santos is quite the challenge at the moment — no wonder he plumped for such a seasoned professional!
Given the multitudinous scandals and probes, it’s hard to say just how long Santos will stay in office, and how long the entries on these folks’ résumés will be reflecting their time with him. Cockburn thinks their best bet is to take a page out of the boss’s book and embellish, embellish, embellish…