The Great Gatsby of 2022

I’m not sure there’s any higher meaning to be derived from this story other than WTF?, but here we go.

In the 2022 elections, New York Republican Congressman-Elect and challenger defeated a Long Island Democrat. Not exactly news, but here’s where it gets weird–and I’m pretty used to weird (boldface mine):

George Santos, whose election to Congress on Long Island last month helped Republicans clinch a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, built his candidacy on the notion that he was the “full embodiment of the American dream” and was running to safeguard it for others.

His campaign biography amplified his storybook journey: He is the son of Brazilian immigrants, and the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent. By his account, he catapulted himself from a New York City public college to become a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor” with a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties and an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats.

But a New York Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Mr. Santos, 34, made on the campaign trail, calls into question key parts of the résumé that he sold to voters.

The phrase “calls into question key parts of the résumé that he sold to voters” is doing a ton of work here. Santos appears to be able to lend himself $700,000 from a now-dissolved capital introduction consulting company that supposedly has no clients (how exactly does one introduce people to capital without clients…).

While his biography and resume appear to be entirely false, it’s not obvious at all how he got to where he is. Typically, when someone like a political candidate claims X, if it turns out that ‘not X’ is actually true, it’s also possible to determine that ‘Y is true’ about the candidate. But with Santos what is actually true is utterly unclear.

If this were a spy novel, someone like this would be a deep sleeper agent or something. When Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, it was possible to reinvent yourself, but in 2022, to be this much of a cypher is unusual to say the least, especially in such a high-scrutiny position.

Like I said, I don’t think there’s any greater lesson to be learned here, it’s just utterly bizarre that someone in 2022, Year of Our Gritty, can hide his past–and his backers–so well.

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