“Do you have no shame?”
Whoa! That’s how Tulsi Gabbard settled in to her substitute hosting for Tucker Carlson as she confronted a Republican recently elected to Congress.
Santos, who was elected in November to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, was responding to questions that had been raised about his background in a New York Times report published Dec. 19.
On Monday, the New York Post reported that Santos had admitted in an interview to a string of lies, or, as he described it to the Post, “embellishing my resume.”
The “embellishing” included lying about his education and professional background and making a claim of being Jewish.
According to the Post, Santos never graduated, as he has claimed, from Baruch College and never worked “directly” for the investment firms Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, as he also claimed.
He said his grandmother was a Jew who converted to Catholicism. He said that even though he now is a Catholic, his connection to his grandmother makes him “Jew-ish,” as he put it. Yet a letter pointed out by Gabbard had Santos describing himself as a “proud American Jew.”
Also, Santos lied about owning 13 different pieces of real estate, according to the Post, and had had a court order issued against him to pay more than $12,000 he owed to a former landlord.
When he appeared on Fox News, Gabbard took him apart.
“First question I really want to ask you,” she said, “now that all of this has been revealed, is: What does the word ‘integrity’ mean to you?”
“To answer your question,” Santos replied, “Integrity is very important and, like I said to the New York Post, embellishing…”
Gabbard interrupted, “What does it [integrity] mean, though? What does it mean? Because the meaning of the word actually matters in practice.”
Santos said, “Of course. It means to carry yourself in an honorable way. And I made a mistake. And I think humans are flawed, and we all make mistakes, Tulsi, and I think we can all look at ourself in the mirror and admit that once in our life we made a mistake.”
He continued in typical politico-speak about having to admit his mistake on national television and about having the courage to move past that and be effective in Congress.
“I’m not a fraud. I’m not a fake,” Santos said. “I didn’t materialize from thin air. I worked damn hard to get where I got in my life.
“Life wasn’t easy,” he continued, “It didn’t start off easy. As I said it many, many times, I come from abject poverty. I made some mistakes.”
Gabbard was having none of it.
“The thing is, Congressman-elect,” she said, “Integrity means, yes, carrying yourself with honor, but it means telling the truth, being a person of integrity, and if I were one of those in New York’s 3rd District right now, now that the election is over, and I’m finding out all of these lies that you’ve told — not just one little lie or one little embellishment — these are blatant lies.
“My question is: Do you have no shame? Do you have no shame [in the sight of] the people who are now you’re asking to trust you to go and be their voice for them, their families and their kids in Washington?”
Santos responded by using the time-honored politician’s tactic of deflecting the question, in this case pointing to the failings of Joe Biden and the Democrats.
“Do they have no shame?” Santos said. “I’ve made this very clear.”
“This is not about the Democratic party, though,” Gabbard responded. “This is about your relationship, frankly, with the people who have entrusted you go and fight for them.”
Santos attempted to defend himself with typical political talking points of how he would be an effective congressman, blah, blah, blah and how he should be judged on his results.
“You’re exactly right,” Gabbard interjected. “The results people are looking for are called into question when you tell blatant lies — not embellishments — and I think this is one of the biggest concerns, Congressman-elect, is that you don’t really seem to be taking this seriously.
“You’ve apologized. You’ve said you’ve made mistakes,” she continued, “But you’ve outright lied. A lie is not an embellishment on a resume.”
When reminded that it was untrue that Santos had worked at Citi and Goldman Sachs, Santos — in an apparent attempt to demonstrate knowledge of finance — began to ramble on about private equity and limited partnerships.
“And we can have this discussion,” he said, “That’s gonna go way above the American people’s head …”
“Wow,” said Gabbard with a sardonic smile as Santos rattled on about inflation.
“… I can sit down, if you want to have that discussion, I’d be glad to, Tulsi, to explain that to you and make sure we’ve settled the score,” Santos said.
Gabbard, grinning ear to ear as her guest self-destructed, said: “This is not about settling scores. And I think you just highlighted, I think, my concern, the concern that people at home have.
“You said this discussion will go way above the heads of the American people, basically insulting their intelligence.”
Yet, Santos jabbered on, as Gabbard, with apparently amused tolerance, let him continue to hang himself. Finally, enough was enough — she brought it to a close.
“Congressman-elect Santos, we’ve given you a lot of time. I think the time that is owed is to the people of New York’s 3rd. It’s hard to imagine how they could possibly trust your explanations when you’re not really even willing to admit to the depths of your deceptions to them,” Gabbard said.
Possessing a low-key, well-modulated voice, a sharp wit, and an appearance the camera loves, Gabbard, if her torching of Santos is any indication of her interviewing ability, will no doubt be a rising star at Fox News.
Santos’ career in Congress might be a different story.
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