George Santos embraces ‘storytelling’
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Lots of politicians have been caught burnishing their resumes, but recently, one of our elected representatives has come under fire for telling some real whoppers. And no, I’m not talking about George Santos.
In a space of three days last fall, President Joe Biden claimed to be Puerto Rican, practice Judaism and to have lost his house in a natural disaster.
Celebrating the Jewish New Year at the White House on Sept. 30, he told Jewish leaders, “I probably went to shul more than many of you did. You all think I’m kidding.” No, he said, “I’d go to services on Saturday and on Sunday,” adding, “You all think I’m kidding. I’m not.”
Visiting hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico the following week, he said, “I was sort of raised in the Puerto Rican community at home.”
Days later, speaking to Floridians who’d lost everything to Hurricane Ian, Biden talked about a catastrophic fire that nearly destroyed his house after lightning struck. “We didn’t lose our whole home,” he said, “but an awful lot of it.” He’d mentioned this blaze before, claiming that he “had a house burn down with my wife in it.”
Fact-checkers determined he was referring a small kitchen fire, “under control in 20 minutes,” according to contemporaneous news reports.
In a video speech to the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh three years after the October 2018 massacre there, Biden said, “I remember spending time at the … Tree of Life Synagogue.”
The synagogue said he had never visited.
Just before the 2020 South Carolina primary, Biden claimed — as he has many, many, many times — “I had the great honor of being arrested … on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see [Nelson] Mandela.” So significant was this incident, Biden said, that when Mandela came to Washington, he “threw his arms around me and said, ‘I want to say thank you. … You got arrested trying to see me.’”
Biden was never arrested in South Africa for trying to see Mandela. There’s no evidence the hug ever happened, either.
Sadly, as soon as Biden clinched the presidential nomination in 2020, Democrats locked him in the basement until Election Day. Who knows how many of Biden’s lies were lost to history that year!
But he couldn’t avoid speaking in 2019.
Campaigning in New Hampshire, he told a gripping story about flying to Afghanistan as vice president to pin a Silver Star on a Navy captain who’d rappelled down a ravine to retrieve his fallen compatriot, but who didn’t want a medal because the guy had died. “This is the God’s truth,” he said. “My word as a Biden.”
Biden did manage to fight the irresistible urge to claim he was that soldier.
However, it was President Barack Obama who’d honored an Army specialist for retrieving a soldier from a ravine — and he presented him with a Presidential Medal of Honor, not a Silver Star, in a White House ceremony, not in Afghanistan. As The Washington Post put it, “In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.”
In a primary debate, he said: “I come out of a Black community” and had “more people supporting me in the Black community” than his rivals.
Kamala Harris: “No, that’s not true.”
Cory Booker: “That’s not true.”
In a nationally televised climate town hall on CNN, Biden said, “I just want to be very clear to everyone here: I am committed to not raising money from fossil fuel executives, and I am not doing that.”
The next day, Biden attended a high-dollar fundraiser held by the co-founder of a natural gas company.
At a CNN/YouTube Democratic debate in June 2007, Biden said, “Let’s start telling the truth,” then revealed that he’d been “shot at” in Iraq’s Green Zone.
Turns out, a mortar round landed a few hundred yards — i.e., a few football fields — from a building Biden was in.
At a 2012 campaign stop, Biden told African Americans that Republicans are “gonna put you all back in chains.” (At least his lies are harmless exaggerations without any potential to sow discord in our society.)
Before getting to George Santos’ apparently unprecedented and unforgivable mendacity, let’s review a few more of Biden’s Greatest Hits.
Throughout his life, Biden has alleged that he “participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses,” saying, “and my stomach turned upon hearing the voices of Faubus and Barnett, and my soul raged on seeing the dogs of Bull Connor.”
None of this ever happened, according to his own aides, as well as the Democratic Party’s Praetorian Guard at The New York Times.
Most famously, he bragged about being an award-winning student, leaving college with three degrees, going to law school on a “full academic scholarship,” and graduating in the top half of his class.
Back on Earth: He graduated college with one degree and was nearly expelled from law school for plagiarizing five straight pages of a published article, coming in 76th out of a class of 85.
Most bizarrely, Biden stole British Labor leader Neil Kinnock’s speech — and his autobiography. Plagiarizing Kinnock nearly word for word, Biden claimed to have been “the first in his family ever to go to a university,” then bemoaned a system that had excluded his “ancestors, who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania.”
Biden’s ancestors did not work in coal mines. They went to college.
The whole point of Kinnock’s speech was to denounce the British class structure — something we don’t have. (Heard of the American Revolution? Probably not: It has nothing to do with Emmett Till.)
According to Biden’s actual life story — that is, the story based on what we know to be facts — his grandfather was an executive with the American Oil Co., and his father was to the manor born. Why on Earth was Biden clenching his fist, decrying a society where he didn’t have “a platform upon which to stand”? The executive suite at American Oil isn’t a platform?
All in all, Biden gives George Santos a pretty good run for his money.
The main difference between Biden and Santos is that one is the president of the United States, whereas the other is part of a legislative body with 435 members, including some who are certifiably insane.
But while the top story on MSNBC every night is: When is Santos resigning?, Biden’s lies are lovingly indulged by the media as the “search for a connection” by “a glad-handing pol” (The Washington Post), who has “embraced storytelling” with “the factual edges shaved off to make them more powerful for audiences” (The New York Times).
Speaking of the media’s double standards, where’s the “thank you” for the GOP’s diversity outreach? Santos is a gay Latino — and that he can prove! I swear, what do we have to do to please these people?