Amid continuing criticism and demands — even from local party members — that he leave office, a video circulating online shows right-wing Rep. George Santos (R-New York) appearing at a January 5 2021 rally and falsely claiming that an election was “stolen” from him.
“If you’re from New York City, you know what they did to me — they did to me what they did to Donald J. Trump. They stole my election,” Santos says in the footage.
“For fourteen days, I was Congressman-elect of the 3rd Congressional district of New York. And what did they do? When they were too busy printing 280,000 ballots in my district and shipping them to Pennsylvania, they sneaked [sic] in a few for my opponent. And what did they do? They stole it.”
If you were wondering what George Santos was doing around J6 here he is on Jan. 5, 2021 pic.twitter.com/sU4ZGGz16l
— Wu-Tang is for the Children (@WUTangKids) January 10, 2023
Santos’ remarks (much like most of his public biography) were a distortion of the truth about how his 2020 run for office unfolded; at the time, Santos was running to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi. The Long Island Herald reported on November 4 2020 that Santos led Suozzi by 2 percentage points, but further noted:
Thousands of absentee ballots remained uncounted because they could not be opened until seven days after the election.
As of Wednesday, there were 48,097 absentee ballots in Nassau County and 23,846 in Suffolk County outstanding. Northeast Queens, which U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi represents, had 13,947 absentee ballots. The registration of the ballots was 51 percent Democratic, 17 percent Republican and 32 percent blank.
However, after those ballots were counted, Suozzi won the race. As the Queens Daily Eagle reported on November 17 2020:
Suozzi led by more than 10,000 votes Tuesday after initially trailing by about 4,000 in-person ballots on Election Day. He had 51 percent of the vote when Santos conceded.
He performed far better in Queens on Election Day than he did in the Nassau County portion of the district, according to Board of Elections results. He received 3,300 more votes than Santos in Queens County — picking up 20,131 votes in Queens compared to Santos’ 16,828 on Election Day.
So, Santos was never the district’s “Congressman-elect” at any point in 2020.
We can also confirm that this footage was taken from a rally held one day before Trump supporters launched a coup attempt against the U.S. Capitol that caused the deaths of at least seven people. (He takes the stage at around an hour and 40 minutes into the video.)
Santos was introduced at the rally by Dustin Stockton, who hyped up the crowd by reminding them that Trump was “who we’re taking our marching orders from.” Later in 2021, Stockton and his wife gave investigators information about the separate rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol.
As the Washington Post reported from the rally where Santos spoke:
For nearly eight hours, speakers repeated election conspiracy theories, closed their eyes to pray and shared discount codes for MyPillow, a company owned by a Trump ally.
All day, the crowd ranted against the need for masks, vaccines and precautions against the [COVID-19] virus that has killed more than 355,000 Americans.
“I’m going to give everyone three action steps … turn to the person next to you and give them a hug,” one speaker exhorted the crowd. “Someone you don’t know … it’s a mass-spreader event! It’s a mass-spreader event!”
After actually being elected to office in November 2022, Santos’ propensity for making up details about his life — from his college education to his supposed professional bonafieds — has come under heavy questioning, as lie after lie he has told has been debunked; as one article summarized:
As he has claimed, Santos is a 34-year-old Republican born in Queens who will represent New York’s wealthiest congressional district. Other than that, pretty much everything is under scrutiny.
We contacted Santos’ office seeking comment, but did not hear back.