Republican congressman-elect George Santos is under renewed scrutiny after a New York Times report earlier this week exposed a series of blatant fabrications at the heart of some of the most important facts of his life, but that background may also be notable for Santos’s absence of an undisclosed marriage. .
Santos, who claims he has “never experienced discrimination within the Republican Party,” broke barriers this year when he became the first openly gay non-official GOP candidate elected to Congress.
But according to court documents obtained by The Daily Beast, Santos appears to have a previously unacknowledged divorce from a woman in Queens County, New York, in September 2019. The divorce — which Santos has not discussed publicly — adds new uncertainty to his already shaky biographical and political claims.
“I’m openly gay, I’ve never had a problem with my sexual identity in the last decade, and I can tell you and I assure you that I will always be an advocate for LGBTQ people,” Santos told USA Today in October, responding to the criticism. of his support for Florida’s so-called “Say No to the Gay Bill,” signed into law this year by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Less than two weeks after the divorce was finalized, Santos filed the official paperwork to launch his 2020 campaign. And while her 2022 campaign bio mentions her husband, who Santos says lives with her and their four dogs on Long Island, she has kept that previous marriage completely out of the public eye.
It’s entirely possible that Santos, who claims he’s “never experienced discrimination in the Republican Party,” has been openly gay, as he says, for more than a decade. People get married for countless reasons. But Santos’ situation is strange because he never disclosed his divorce to voters and never reconciled his previous marriage to a woman — which ended just 12 days before his first congressional campaign — by claiming to be an out and proud gay Republican.
Santos, 34, made his first bid for Congress in 2020, losing to Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) before toppling Democratic challenger Robert Zimmerman this year. But he is already facing calls to resign, as well as a possible ethics investigation, after a New York Times investigation suggested that Santos had fabricated key elements of his resume.
Santos says the colleges he attended have no record of him; Neither do Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, even though he claimed to work there; The IRS has no record of his nonprofit; he still faces “unresolved” legal issues in Brazil; his past business dealings seem uncertain; and even his address was questioned.
In response to the Times report, Santos’ attorney, Joseph Murray, released a statement saying that while he did not deny the charges, he painted his client as a victim because he “represents the kind of progress that is so threatening to the left — a gay, Latino, immigrant and Republican who won Biden’s district in a landslide, showing everyday voters that there is a better choice than the broken promises and failed policies of the Democratic Party.
The Times story set off a swift round of criticism that extended not only to the congressman-elect, but also to Democratic opposition pundits, Republican veterans and the media, which had failed to point out the now glaring holes in his story before the election. .
While those details went largely unnoticed during the campaign, the Times investigation prompted reporters and Internet searchers across the country to dig into Santos’ past, or what they could find of it.
It’s unclear why Santos hasn’t gone public with his apparent marriage and divorce, but it doesn’t sit well with his current biography.
She has previously told US and Brazilian media that she is engaged to a man, a fellow Brazilian identified by Santos as a pharmacist, and her campaign profile says she lives on Long Island with her husband. (The Daily Beast could find no public records of the man’s work in the industry, nor a marriage record.)
But New York court records reveal that in 2019, someone named George Devolder Santos with the second initial “A” finalized an uncontested divorce from Uadla Santos Vieira Santos. Searches of public records reveal only one person of that name in the United States.
Uadla Santos and George Santos did not return calls or text messages to their associated numbers. (A deed to a $750,000 house in Union County, New Jersey this June lists Uadla Santos as the buyer and is married; he is the only buyer listed in the property records.)
George Santos, whose middle name is Anthony, sometimes goes by his late mother’s maiden name, Devolder. He included it in his “Devolder Santos for Congress” campaign and also in his supposed financial services company, the Devolder Organization.
Santos has shifted between various combinations of these four names over the years, sometimes adopting his father’s Santos surname and sometimes his mother’s Devolder.
Santos’ mother died in 2016, according to an online crowdfunding campaign Santos launched to raise money to cover “waking costs.” The GoFundMe page lists “Anthony D Santos” as the beneficiary and Anthony Devolver of Sunnyside, New York, as the organizer — and the fundraising campaign remains open.
Santos’ campaign bio page claims her mother was the “first female CEO of a major financial institution,” though the specific institution is not named. The biography also states that “George’s mother was in her office in the South Tower on the morning of September 11, 2001.”
“He survived the terrible events of that day, but unfortunately died a few years later” – about 15 years later.
On Wednesday, the Jewish publication The Forward added even more intrigue by suggesting that Santos may also have been wrong when he claimed during the campaign — including on his website — that he was of Jewish descent. The report prompted incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to declare his incoming colleague a “complete and utter fraud.”
But the revelation of the divorce and the apparent cover-up that comes with it complicates Santos as the centerpiece of a dynamic and culturally revolutionary figure.
In an election season in which many of his fellow conservatives made nonsensical claims about pedophilia among Democrats, targeted benign drag brunches as epicenters of “grooming” and stoked anger in the gay and trans movement — as attacks on the LGBTQ community soared — Santos made history as the first unofficial gay Republican, who was ever elected to Congress.
But in the wake of that victory, and just two weeks before his barrier-breaking inauguration, Santos’ relationship with the truth, something he has somehow avoided for two campaigns, is strained.
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