I get it, future Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, that the salt mine needs miners.
And that you need votes in order to become third in line to the presidency.
And that this fraud from Long Island, perhaps future Rep. George Santos, has said he will vote for you.
But is it really worth it for the Republican leadership to not express outrage about a guy who is not just an incredible liar, but whose entire resume, whose entire life, is a fake?
And I’m all for self-made Americans. The story that Santos told on his successful campaign trail — immigrant, gay, self-made entrepreneur, Catholic and Jewish, founder of a cute-pet charity, the kind of guy the Grand Old Party could really use — is an incredible Yankee success story.
But, like another (fictional) Long Islander, Gatsby, the whole tale is made-up. Santos now admits that. And you still want him in Congress?
He said he graduated from Baruch College. He didn’t even ever go to the school. He said he worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He didn’t. Ever. He said he was a big-time property owner and landlord. He not only isn’t — he owes thousands of dollars in unpaid rent to other landlords himself. He wrote bad checks in Brazil and skipped on doing time for his crime.
But no one will call him out on any of this. And it’s very hard, that promised vote for McCarthy against an insurgence from his right aside, to understand why.
The Democrats were thrilled a few years back when Rep. Katie Hill was elected in a very purple district just north of here. But when she admitted to an affair with a staffer, the calls from colleagues in her party to resign came immediately. And she then stepped down very quickly. That’s essentially the same district now represented by Republican Mike Garcia. The Dems would have loved to keep it. But it wasn’t a good look for Hill to stay on, and she didn’t.
But the Republican Party boss in western Long Island, Joseph Cairo, fully acknowledging the fact that Santos’ entire resume is concocted out of thin air, won’t call for him to not take office.
“He has a lot of work to do to regain the trust of voters and everyone who he represents in Congress,” Cairo said on Wednesday. “He must do the public’s will in Washington.”
No, he musn’t. Someone else must. Why not say so?
It’s not as if the Dems don’t have themselves partially to blame here.
Where on Earth was the opposition research?
Anyone who’s ever hired anyone knows that all you have to do to check on someone’s claim on a resume to a college degree is call the records office and ask. Back when I was a hirer, even though I had no doubt that the brilliant young reporter in front of me actually did go to Harvard, I would ring Harvard up just to check.
The Long Island Democrats could have done the same simple fact-checking when it came to every lie on Santos’ resume. That they didn’t — well, their loss in this district is in great part on them.
Though some official investigations are being launched into Santos’ claims, it’s not at all clear at this writing that what he did wasn’t just idiotic and unethical rather than illegal.
And, weirdly, his cynical backers are claiming that, since Santos’ lies occurred before he would take office, that the House Ethics Committee shouldn’t care about his “acting in a manner that brings discredit to the House.” The very recent past, apparently, doesn’t matter.
The very idea that he would be allowed to take his seat brings discredit. Where is the GOP leader who will ask: “At long last, have you no sense of decency?”
Larry Wilson is on the Southern California News Group editorial board. firstname.lastname@example.org