House Republican George Santos has turned out to be such a disaster, he could end up costing his party a seat and end up being the kind of walking talking scandal who could cost his party the majority in the next election cycle. One of the big questions is how House Republican leaders could have not known that Santos was a lifelong fraud. Now we’re starting to get the obvious answer: they did know.
It turns out Republican leaders, including one of Kevin McCarthy’s close allies, knew that Santos was a fraud before the 2022 election cycle even meaningfully got underway, according to a new expose from the New York Times. This means the GOP could have intervened early on and gotten itself a different nominee in that race, who would have ended up being less of a headache. All they’d have needed to do is threaten to expose Santos’ endless lies unless he dropped out, and that would likely have been the end of him.
But as we keep seeing lately, these House Republicans just aren’t that smart. Instead they just crossed their fingers and hoped that George Santos would never get exposed. Republicans got lucky in the short term when local Long Island media and local Democrats tried but failed to get the national media to take an interest in Santos’ lies during the election cycle. But once Santos won and the national media concluded that it could get ratings by covering the scandals of a guy who was about to get sworn into Congress, it did precisely that.
It’s not like there was going to be a better outcome than this for House Republicans. What, were they hoping Santos would lose the election? Are they that tepid? Were they afraid of replacing Santos with a better candidate because Santos was aligned with Donald Trump?
In any case it’s now clear that Kevin McCarthy knew, through his close allies, very early on that George Santos was a serial fraudster. It’s yet another reminder that McCarthy is a weak, tepid deer in the headlights. He has no idea how to lead, or how to handle anything, or what he’s even supposed to be doing. Santos is now a daily problem for McCarthy and his caucus, because McCarthy didn’t make this problem go away back when he could have.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report