family ties

George Santos still says he’s “Jew-ish” and explains why he can’t prove it just yet

Scandal-hit Rep. George Santos sat down yesterday with Manu Raju on CNN’s Inside Politics. Raju probed the New York Republican over the many charges he is facing and some of the outlandish falsehoods he’s voiced.

Besides lying about his educational background and career, questions have been raised over some of Santos’ recollections about his family. While campaigning, he also spoke about being “Jewish” and of how his grandparents fled Europe to escape the Holocaust.

Subsequent record checks have found indicate both sets of Santos’ grandparents were born and died in Brazil.

On the latter topic, Santos told Raju yesterday that he’s spent the past ten months trying to dig up the evidence to support his family history.

“It’s true. Oh, it’s true. I spent the last ten months DNA, hiring genealogists…”

Raju interrupted and asked if Santos had documentation of his research.

“That’s what I’ve spent the last ten months doing. But unfortunately, Ukraine is in the middle of a frickin’ war and my grandfather comes from Ukraine…. That’s something I’m going to prove before I die,” he told Raju.

“Because the reality is, I never said I was ‘Jewish’. For years I would always joke I’m ‘Jew-ish’,” he added, making quotation marks with his fingers. “I was raised Roman Catholic.”

He went on to say that when he described himself as “Jewish” at campaign events, he was joking and everyone understood what he was on about.

“I’m Catholic. Come from a Jewish family. Here’s my Jewish family’s history. Why is this now a problem?”

Raju again pushed him: “But you have documented proof of your grandparents fleeing the Holocaust?”

Santos replied, “I’m working on getting the last pieces of it, specifically the pieces from Brazil, where they go to Brazil and have documents forged so that they can blend in and all of that.”

Santos says once he has all his evidence, he will submit a report to the press “with glee because that is going to be that one thing I’m going to be able to say, ‘I never intended to hurt anybody, I never wanted anyone to feel that I misrepresented myself or my family’s heritage.”

Online skepticism

Online, many reacted with skepticism to Santos’ latest claim.

Will Santos take a plea deal?

Santos, the first out-gay Republican elected to the U.S. House, faces 23 federal charges relating to wire fraud, money laundering and inflating his campaign finances. He denies all the charges.

In yesterday’s interview, Raju pushed Santos on whether he’d take a plea deal.

“Well, I’m not exploring any of that right now, right?” Santos replied. “Those conversations are yet to be had.”

“But they may happen?” Raju probed.

“I don’t know,” Santos replied. “I don’t know. Right now, I’m pretty focused on my defense and putting together my defense with my attorneys.”

Raju again asked if Santos was ruling out taking a plea deal.

“I’m not saying I’m not — I’m not saying I’m not ruling it out. As of right now, it’s not on the table.”

Watch the interview below.

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