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One day, during a previous job, our PR team received a new employee with little warning. I immediately went to LinkedIn to find this mystery person, to no avail -- I think this is the only person I have crossed paths with professionally who doesn't have a LinkedIn page.
Through a Google search, I found some self-generated content that hyped a well-connected political operative. (We were a publicly traded digital company.)
During our first meeting, I asked if this person knew a high-profile friend of mine from one of his "political" jobs.
"Of course, I do, he's a great guy," was the reply. My response was, "You do? Well, he died two weeks ago,"
The point is this person lied on his resume, or whatever he submitted to HR, and when I went to HR repeatedly with evidence that he lied nothing was done.
He remained, and I was pushed out.
I've been thinking a lot about this incident of dereliction by my old employer with all the news about GOP congressman-elect George Santos who was elected the Republican representative of New York's third district that includes much of Long Island.
My hope is that the Republicans take a cue from my old employer, and ignore his lies.
Just a week before Christmas, when Santa checked those lists, The New York Times revealed that Santos's list was a long one of lies. Santa didn't have time to check the list twice since it was a mile long. Santos is the definition of naughty.
Yesterday, The New York Post published an interview with Santos where he admitted that he "embellished" his resume. Embellishing might be adding more responsibilities under one of your job descriptions or fudging the year you graduated from college in order to appear younger. Embellishing might also include listing charity work that you may have done once or twice, or not at all.
What Santos did was flat-out lie on his resume -- if that's what you want to call it. Santos's CV reads more like a work of fiction, a graduate of Baruch College? He never went to college. Working at Goldman Sachs and Citi Group? He was never employed by them.
His Jewish background? He admitted to the Post that he's Catholic. He's a "proud gay man?" He was married to a woman, and they divorced -- something he failed to disclose on the campaign trail. But he's "very much" gay now.
Santos also said he owned over a dozen properties. But guess what? He confessed to not owning any. He's actually living with his sister. He's in debt. His last job paid $55,000 a year. He was remiss in paying rent at his last place of residence.
Then there's the potential for a real whopper. His financial disclosure form says he has $11 million in assets. How?
If I were Santos's sister, I'd tell him to get his ass off the couch, and at the very least rent a room in a group house with some of that supposed $11 million.
Here's one of the ironies. He told the Post, "I intend to deliver on the promises I made during the campaign -- fighting crime, fighting to lower inflation, improving education. The people elected me to fight for them."
The people thought they elected a shrewd financier, non-divorced millionaire who went to a New York college. So, he's lying to them already.
Do you really believe he's going to "fight for them?" He'll be focused on fighting to save his reputation. He's been exposed as a liar, as a phony, as a joke.
Case in point, Republican congressional leadership reportedly knew all along that Santos was a joke. And they did nothing, which is outrageous on its own and a vicious slight to the voters of New York's 3rd congressional district.
According to the Post, "Senior House Republicans were apparently aware of the inaccuracies and embellishments in the member-elect's resume, and the topic became a 'running joke.'"
What a bunch of baleful bastards.
Digressing slightly, I keep seeing former congressman Steve Gunderson in stories about Santos because Gunderson was the first publicly out Republican in Congress who won an election. Santos is only the third (and the first non-incumbent) and that says all you need to know about the Republican Party; however, conflating Gunderson with Santos does a great injustice to the former Wisconsin representative. I spoke to Gunderson on the 25th anniversary of his coming out on the House floor. He's a decent man. And he's far away from the truly frightening Republican Party we see today.
The Republican leadership, especially Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California (Santos said he would vote for McCarthy as House speaker), are desperate to keep their slim majority in the House, so they're going to take a cue from my old company, and just brush off all the fabrications and deceptions. And why wouldn't they? In today's Republican Party, one of the prerequisites is lying, so Santos fits right in.
This might be great in the short term, but wow, what a bonus for Democrats who now have the Republican poster child for lying. Democrats will hammer home the imposter that is Santos. I can see clever ads, clever memes, and talking points around the fact that this is one of the fibbing faces of the Republican Party.
Santos comes across as a "normal" liar, which is why he'll be a political target if he is able to stay in Congress. What I mean by that is this: Everyone knows that the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz -- just for starters -- are warped, cartoonish morons that can't be taken seriously; therefore, featuring them in campaign ads is redundant.
It's a given that 80 percent of the American electorate knows that Democrats aren't pedophiles and don't run an underage cabal of sex workers. That's all fantastical and not relatable.
Now enter Santos. Some of his sins are out-and-out lies that most of us can relate to, unfortunately. What I mean by this is that many of us may have embellished our resumes a tad or two, but we haven't flat-out lied. We know that if we did lie on our resumes, we'd be fired. And if Santos isn't fired by the Republican Party, like we would be, what kind of message does that send?
I had a reporter call me about the person who lied on their resume that I crossed paths with at my former company. The reporter heard the rumors too that this person was shady. I declined to help him with an expose about this person. I didn't want to get anywhere near it.
If Santos stays in Congress, and blithely runs for reelection, will anyone get near him?
I'm shaking my head with all the calls for Santos to resign. Let him stay! Let the Republican leadership wallow in the mud of denigrating deceptors. Trump and his lies might be withering away, but there's plenty, like Santos, ready to step in and pick up the slack. For the Republicans, that means the lies just keep on coming.
Abraham Lincoln, who is rolling over in his grave at all these liars in his party, once said about liars, "If a man will stand up and assert, and repeat and reassert, that two and two do not make four. I know nothing in the power of argument that can stop him."
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.
Views expressed in The Advocate's opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.