A lawyer for Republican Rep.-elect George Santos of New York blasted The New York Times on Monday, hours after it reported that he had misrepresented some of his credentials in a successful bid to flip a blue House seat red last month.
Santos, 34, was elected to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District, beating Democrat Robert Zimmerman last month.
The Times called into question some of the claims Santos made about his biography on the campaign trail, saying that it had reviewed public documents and court filings from the U.S. and Brazil and that it was unable to substantiate some of his professed qualifications.
The unsubstantiated accolades, according to the Times story, include claims that Santos worked at top Wall Street firms Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, which, while previously listed on Santos' campaign website, could not be backed up by records from the companies. The report also cast doubt on Santos' educational history, saying officials at Baruch College were unable to locate a record that corresponded with his name and date of birth for 2010, the year he said he graduated.
Representatives for Baruch and New York University, where he is also said to have obtained a degree, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s website, told NBC New York that they had no record of his attendance. Representatives for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs told NBC New York they had no record of his employment.
In a statement Monday, Santos’ lawyer, Joseph Murray, dismissed the story, insisting that Santos was being smeared by "enemies" at the paper, and suggesting that Santos, posed a threat to Democrats.
"After four years in the public eye, and on the verge of being sworn in as a member of the Republican led 118th Congress, the New York Times launches this shotgun blast of attacks," Murray said. "It is no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at the New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations. As Winston Churchill famously stated, 'You have enemies? Good. It means that you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.'"
The quote is commonly misattributed to Churchill, according to the Poynter Institute's PolitiFact, which points out that it appears in an 1845 essay titled "Villemain" by Victor Hugo that predates the British leader.
Santos, 34, made history in November when he became the first openly LGBTQ non-incumbent Republican elected to Congress, handing a defeat to Democrats in a district that covers parts of Long Island and Queens.
The upset means Santos will succeed Democrat Tom Suozzi, who lost a primary bid for governor this year. Santos ran against Suozzi in 2020 but lost in the general election.