George Devolder-Santos, the Republican congressman-elect from New York, who claims to be the first out gay Republican elected as a non-incumbent, allegedly concealed his marriage to — and divorce from — a woman.
Santos, who was elected last month to represent parts of Queens and Long Island beginning next year, came under fire earlier this week after a New York Times article alleged that he had fabricated parts of his résumé and biography, including his work history, educational background, business dealings, real estate holdings, and even his purported Jewish heritage.
Some alleged inconsistencies in his financial reports, which appeared to conflict with some parts of his biography, have led Democrats to demand he resign or to call for investigations into whether he violated ethics rules or campaign finance laws.
According to The Daily Beast, the congressman-elect’s deception did not stop there.
The online news website claims that it obtained court records showing Santos was the subject of a previously undisclosed divorce with a woman in Queens.
The uncontested divorce, which went through in September 2019, involved a person named “George A. Devolder Santos” and a woman named Uadla Santos Vieira Santos.
The Daily Beast claims there is only one person in the United States with that name. The news site also found a deed for a $750,000 house purchase in Union County, New Jersey, from this past June. Uadla Santos is listed as the buyer and the only purchaser listed on the property documents, which indicate she is married.
According to The Daily Beast, two weeks after the divorce was finalized, Santos filed the official paperwork to launch his 2020 congressional campaign against then-incumbent Democrat Tom Suozzi.
In that campaign — which saw Santos lose by 10 points — as well as his most recent campaign, Santos has identified himself, in interviews with U.S. and Brazilian media, as a gay man in a relationship with another man, whom he initially identified as his fiancé and whom he now calls his husband. However, The Daily Beast claims it was unable to locate any records listing the two as married.
Additionally, Santos has claimed that his then-fiancé lost his job as a pharmacist after the couple were pictured unmasked at a crowded New Year’s Eve Party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in 2020. Santos also appeared to imply, but never directly stated, in a tweet, that the couple had received threats of violence that led them and their four dogs to flee their Long Island home.
It still remains unclear how photos of the couple at the gala — whether shared by Santos on Instagram or published in The New York Times without identifying the couple — led to his significant other’s firing, especially since Florida did not have a statewide mask mandate in place at the time.
There was a mask mandate at Palm Beach County, where Mar-a-Lago is located, but it was unenforceable due to an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis prohibiting local governments from assessing fines or penalties for noncompliance.
Whether or not Santos was married to a woman does not necessarily indicate anything about his sexual orientation.
For example, he could have been “out” as gay or bisexual during the time he was married. But questions about his other alleged fabrications have led to speculation — particularly online, where liberal critics have been vicious in attacking him — of whether he is indeed gay, or whether he simply claimed to be to push a particular narrative.
For instance, Santos told NBC News following his election victory that he “never experienced discrimination in the Republican Party” due to his sexual orientation.
In October, when confronted about his support for Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, he defended himself from criticism, telling USA Today, “I am openly gay, have never had an issue with my sexual identity in the past decade, and I can tell you and assure you, I will always be an advocate for LGBTQ folks.”
However, unless Santos was “out” during his marriage to a woman, his claims of decade-long acceptance in the GOP may ring hollow to some critics.
It also raises questions about why he never disclosed his previous marriage — after all, plenty of LGBTQ people have been married to or involved with people of the opposite sex prior to coming out, without incident.
Neither Uadla nor George Santos have replied to inquiries seeking comment.
The alleged concealment of his past marriage and divorce do not align neatly with Santos’s identity as a Trump-loving, gay Latino — which he has touted on Twitter and in public appearances.
Recently, he flouted his identity to criticize U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), accusing the California congressman of wrongly expecting him to hold views similar to other LGBTQ people after Lieu brought up the large number of House Republicans who had voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to guarantee federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
Santos, who previously went on record opposing the bill due to what he saw as its lack of sufficient protections for religious liberty, tweeted, “Oh, @tedlieu…Sorry to tell you that not all gays think alike. I challenge your antiquated thought process & reject your disdain for my beliefs. You should be ashamed. But I know you won’t be.”
Sorry to tell you that not all gays think alike. I challenge your antiquated thought process & reject your disdain for my beliefs.
You should be ashamed. But I know you won’t be. https://t.co/1ppGkANXJZ
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) December 18, 2022
Santos’s lawyer, Joseph Murray, released a statement earlier this week casting the Times story as a political hit-job, and touting Santos’s identity as a “threat” because he holds views contrary to those held by the liberal establishment.
“George Santos represents the kind of progress that the Left is so threatened by — a gay, Latino, first-generation American and Republican who won a Biden district in overwhelming fashion by showing everyday voters that there is a better option than the broken promises and failed policies of the Democratic Party,” Murray said.
“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 added. “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.”
Santos, for his part, has not given any public interviews since the Times story broke. But on Thursday, he took to Twitter to post a statement promising to refute some of the allegations against him.
“To the people of #NY03 I have my story to tell and it will be told next week,” he tweeted. “I want to assure everyone that I will address your questions and that I remain committed to deliver the results I campaigned on; Public safety, Inflation, Education & more. Happy Holidays to all!”
To the people of #NY03 I have my story to tell and it will be told next week. I want to assure everyone that I will address your questions and that I remain committed to deliver the results I campaigned on; Public safety, Inflation, Education & more.
Happy Holidays to all!
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) December 22, 2022
But some of Santos’s future colleagues are skeptical of his truthfulness.
Incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who represents Brooklyn in Congress, has declared Santos to be a “complete and utter fraud,” saying that it is up to incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as to whether Santos will be allowed to take his oath of office on Jan. 3.
“Right now, George Santos appears to be in the witness protection program. No one can find him,” Jeffries said. “He’s hiding from legitimate questions that his constituents are asking about his education, about his so-called charity, about his work experience, about his criminal entanglements in Brazil, about every aspect, it appears, of his life.”
U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), a gay man who represents the Bronx, joked about the controversy on Twitter.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. Looks like far-right Republican George Santos, who fabricated his whole political identity, may have even lied about his sexuality. I may be the only actual openly gay member of Congress in New York in the New Year,” Torres tweeted, adding a winking emoji.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Looks like far-right Republican George Santos, who fabricated his whole political identity, may have even lied about his sexuality.
I may be the only actual openly gay member of Congress in New York in the New Year. 😉
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) December 22, 2022
Congressman-elect Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), who is also gay, made a tongue-in-cheek comment about the controversy.
“Listen, at this point I’m hoping he lied about being gay because we don’t want him,” he tweeted.
Listen, at this point I'm hoping he lied about being gay because we don't want him. https://t.co/W5zDhyaura
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) December 21, 2022
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