Republican Jewish group calls on incoming GOP lawmaker George Santos to answer questions about heritage

Rep.-elect George Santos, R-New York, speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) said on Wednesday that it was inquiring into allegations against Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.), including that he fabricated claims about his Jewish heritage.

The organization’s CEO Matt Brooks said he reached out directly to the congressman-elect’s office after news outlets raised questions about Santos’s maternal grandparents, who he claimed fled Jewish persecution during World War II.

“These allegations, if true, are deeply troubling,” Brooks said in a statement to The Hill. “Given this seriousness, the congressman-elect owes the public an explanation, and we look forward to hearing it.”

Santos, who flipped a Long Island House seat for the GOP in November, first came under fire after The New York Times published a story this week scrutinizing a number of claims about his life.

The Times said it found no records that Santos worked at two Wall Street firms or graduated from Baruch College in New York, alleging the incoming lawmaker may have embellished his resume.

Through a statement his lawyer released, Santos refuted the questions raised about him, calling The Times report a “shotgun blast of attacks.”

“George Santos represents the kind of progress that the Left is so threatened by — a gay, Latino, first generation American and Republican,” the statement read. “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.”

Genealogy records also counter the biography on Santos’s website, which says his maternal grandparents fled Jewish persecution from Ukraine, settled in Belgium and fled again during World War II.

The Jewish news outlet The Forward reported on Wednesday that both of his maternal grandparents were born in Brazil before the Nazis rose to power in the 1930s. His mother was born in Brazil and has not made any reference to being Jewish on social media.

On his website, Santos said his maternal grandparents settled in Brazil after fleeing persecution, but The Forward was not able to verify immigration records.

Santos says his father is Catholic and also from Brazil. He told Jewish Insider last month that “my mother’s Jewish background beliefs” are “mine” and that his father’s Roman Catholic beliefs were “also mine.”

The congressman-elect appeared at an RJC candlelight vigil on Sunday night to mark the first night of Hanukkah and spoke at a conference with the organization in Las Vegas, Nev., last month.

Tags George Santos George Santos Jewish heritage Jewish Insider Matt Brooks New York Republican Jewish Coalition resume The Forward The New York Times

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