The bulk of Santos’s scandals — whether it’s the lies he’s told about his background, the revelations in the Ethics report, or the 23-count indictment he faces in federal court — stem from actions he took before he got to Congress.
But the scandal-plagued congressman hasn’t exactly been a well-behaved lawmaker since he got to Capitol Hill, either.
Here are the 8 craziest things Santos did after he got to Congress.
Offered treats to reporters — as his staff mulled surreptitiously recording those reporters’ conversations
The congressman’s early days in Congress had a circus-like quality to them, with hordes of reporters frequently gathering outside his office door.
Santos began leaving treats for those reporters, such as coffee, donuts, Chick-Fil-A, and cupcakes.
Surprise 2.0 — George Santos brings chick-fil-a to his office. Does not respond to my questions about amended FEC filings. pic.twitter.com/D472jRRTgp
In retrospect, it was a harbinger of the troll-like way Santos would carry himself throughout his tenure.
Adding to the intrigue, exhibits accompanying the House Ethics Committee’s recent report revealed texts between two of the congressman’s staffers debating wiretapping the small table that often housed the treats.
It appears they wanted to learn what the press was planning to write about their boss.
“We should keep the table and put flowers or pamphlets on it, with a mic under it,” one unnamed staffer texted to another. “No expectation or privacy in the hallway. We will know what’s coming.”
The George Santos docs offer a glimpse inside his media stunts, including Santos staffers plotting out Santos giving donuts to reporters, then considering a plan to bug the donut table to spy on the press. pic.twitter.com/wBleTBIYy0
Introduced an anti-vaccine mandate bill named after Nicki Minaj
In May, Santos sponsored the “Medical Information Nuanced Accountability Judgement Act of 2023,” AKA, the “MINAJ Act.”
The bill, which never ended up making any progress in the House, would’ve prohibited the US government from enforcing any vaccine mandates for vaccinations that haven’t been “authorized for marketing” for less than a decade.
It was also, he said, very clearly named after Nicki Minaj, an internationally renowned rapper who was vocal online about her indecision in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, going as far as telling a story about her cousin’s friend in Trinidad “whose testicles became swollen” post-vaccination.
Naysa Woomer, Santos’ former communications director, said in a September podcast interview that the bill was a point of frustration for her.
“I wanted him to talk about more than just… the Nicki Minaj bill, or whatever it was,” she said. “Focus on things that actually impact your constituents, and less on clickbait.”
Compared himself to Rosa Parks as he nursed a grudge against Mitt Romney that continues to this day
One weird sub-plot of Santos’s tenure has been his strong hatred for Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who told him at this year’s State of the Union address that he didn’t belong in the center aisle where he was standing.
Santos would later compare himself to Rosa Parks — the Black civil rights icon who refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955.
His grudge against Romney has remained for months since then. In August, he reportedly said he could “beat” the Utah senator’s “butt” in a “cage match.”
Lied about Kyrsten Sinema telling him to ‘hang in there’ at the State of the Union
Just moments after his interaction with Romney, Santos claimed to have received encouragement from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
“As she was walking by… she said something to the effect of ‘hang in there buddy’ or something like that,” Santos said in an interview on Newsmax. “I said ‘thank you Madame Senator.’ She was very polite, very kind-hearted.”
Unsurprisingly, it ended up being a lie.
“This is a blatant lie,” her press secretary later told Business Insider. “Kyrsten didn’t say a word to Rep. Santos — and didn’t even know about the exchange with Senator Romney until they got to their seats.”
Showed up to Trump’s arraignment in Manhattan
When former President Donald Trump was arraigned in Manhattan in April following his first criminal indictment, it was already a circus.
Then George Santos showed up.
Santos wasn’t outside the courthouse for long, but his presence quickly generated a media frenzy, given the high volume of reporters and cameras in the immediate vicinity.
Photographer John Taggart snapped what may live on as the most iconic photo of the scandal-plagued congressman — Santos, surrounded by cameras and microphones, staring straight ahead in designer sunglasses.
Refused to support Steve Scalise for speaker of the House because he’d had no “contact or outreach from him”
But his reasoning stood out from everyone else’s: he said he’d never even had a conversation with Scalise.
“After 10 months and having had 0 contact or outreach from him, I’ve come to the conclusion that my VOTE doesn’t matter to him,” Santos said at the time.
It’s just past 9:40pm and I have yet to hear from the Speaker-Designate. So I’ve made my decision and after 10 months and having had 0 contact or outreach from him, I’ve come to the conclusion that my VOTE doesn’t matter to him.
While Santos framed the lack of outreach as a shortcoming on Scalise’s part, it actually revealed a dirty little secret of Santos’ tenure — that he’s a pariah within his own party, and that most Republicans want nothing to do with him.
The fact that the House Majority Leader — a man who’s tasked with maintaining relationships across the conference — had apparently had “0 contact or outreach” with Santos indicates that House GOP leadership cared little about the scandal-plagued congressman, beyond his reliable vote.
Had a public meltdown after he encountered a protestor while holding an unknown congressional staffer’s baby
In the midst of House Republicans’ struggle to elect a new speaker in October, Santos emerged from fellow Republican Rep. Tim Burchett’s office holding a baby.
When a reporter asked Santos if it was his baby, he simply replied “not yet.”
It’s still unclear, to this day, who the baby actually belongs to.
Two sources close to Santos have told Business Insider that it belonged to “a staffer,” refusing to elaborate. And Burchett says it wasn’t one of his staffers.
“I wasn’t even in my office,” Burchett told Business Insider.
Minutes after that, Santos had a public meltdown after encountering Shabd Singh, a protestor critical of Israeli government policies.
Santos called him “scum” and a “terrorist sympathizer.”
“You cannot weaponize Jewish pain to continue the mass murder of civilians,” Singh later told a gaggle of reporters.
Made fun of a fellow House Republican for his son’s struggles with drug addiction
“Your son is a felon,” he responded in a separate post, linking to a local news story where Womack himself had lamented about the “helpless feeling” he’s had seeing his son struggle with addiction.
“He has been in and out of the prison system for years,” wrote Santos. “He is a drug dealer, poisoning people on the streets with meth and unlawful possession of a gun. Instead of being home, taking care of your son, you’re sitting pretty in the swamp.”