Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard grilled Rep.-elect George Santos of New York during a Fox News interview this week after Santos’ alleged falsehoods about his background came to light and he admitted to fabricating aspects of his past.
Gabbard, now an Independent and a Fox News contributor, interviewed Santos while guest hosting Tucker Carlson’s show.
“The thing is, Congressman-elect, integrity means, yes, carrying yourself with honor, but it means — it means telling the truth, being a person of integrity,” Gabbard said. “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?” Gabbard pressed.
Santos responded by pointing the finger at Democrats, saying that they lie, too.
“This is not — this is not about the Democratic Party, though,” Gabbard responded. “This is about your relationship frankly, with the people who’ve entrusted you to go and fight for them.”
TULSI GABBARD, FOX NEWS HOST: Now, permanent Washington has created a culture where it’s acceptable to lie to further your own interest. Just try not to get caught. I should know; I served in Congress for eight years.
But even when politicians do get caught, people just shrug their shoulders and move on. No big deal, no consequences.
Few examples: Dick Blumenthal lied about his military service. And, of course, Elizabeth Warren, she lied about having Native American heritage.
So, no one should be surprised that the American people don’t trust these politicians. They’ve got no faith that those in Washington are actually working for the people when they’re so clearly working for themselves.
Now, there are new accusations that George Santos, who was just elected to represent New York in Congress in the past election, has actually been lying extensively about his own past. Now, he admits to some of these deceptions.
For example, Santos acknowledges that he, quote, embellished his resume by saying that he graduated from Baruch College — but he didn’t. Santos has also admitted he never actually worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs even though his website suggested that he did.
Additionally, Santos once called himself a proud Jew. But in an interview with the New York Post, Santos now he says, quote, I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was Jew-ish.
There are other accusations. But now, we have the opportunity to hear directly from George Santos himself. This is his very first TV interview since these accusations surfaced.
George Santos joins us now.
Congressman-elect Santos, thank you for joining us today.
The first question I really want to ask you now that all of this has been revealed is: what does the word “integrity” mean to you?
REP.-ELECT GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Well, Tulsi, thank you for having me.
You know, to answer your question — integrity is very important. And like I said to the New York Post, embellishment my resume was a mistake —
GABBARD: What does it mean, though? What does it mean? Because the meaning of the word actually matters in practice.
SANTOS: 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. I think we can all look at ourselves in the mirror and admit that once in our life, we made a mistake.
I’m having to admit this on national television for the whole country to see, and I have the courage to do so because I believe that in order to move past this and move forward and be an effective member of Congress, I have to face my mistakes. And I’m facing them.
The reality is, is that I remain committed to doing everything I set forward in my campaign. I’m not a fraud. I’m not a fake. I didn’t materialize from thin air.
I worked damn hard to get where I got my entire life. Life wasn’t easy. It didn’t start off easy. As I’ve said it many, many times, I come from abject poverty.
I made some mistakes and I own up to them. And now, I want to put this past me —
GABBARD: The thing is —
SANTOS: — so I can deliver for the American people.
GABBARD: The thing is, Congressman-elect, integrity means, yes, carrying yourself with honor, but it means — it means telling the truth, being a person of integrity.
SANTOS: Of course.
GABBARD: 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 people who —
SANTOS: Well —
GABBARD: — are now you’re asking to trust you to go and be their voice for them, their families, and their kids in Washington?
SANTOS: Tulsi, I can say the same thing about the Democrats and the party. Look at Joe Biden. Joe Biden’s been lying to the American people for 40 years. He is the President of the United States. Democrats resoundly support him.
Do they have no shame? Look, I’ve made this very clear. I made — I made a mistake.
GABBARD: This is — this is not — this is not about the Democratic Party, though. This is about your relationship —
SANTOS: No, I understand.
GABBARD: — frankly, with the people who’ve entrusted to you go and fight for them. And I think one of the questions that really probably hits home to a lot of people is: are you Jewish?
We’ve got a letter that your campaign sent out earlier this year which reads as follows. “As a proud American Jew, I’ve been to Israel numerous times for educational, business and leisurely trips.” You said there in that letter that you are, quote, a proud American Jew.
How do you — how do you explain that?
SANTOS: My heritage is Jewish. I’ve always identified as Jewish. I was raised a practicing Catholic. I think I’ve gone through this.
Even not — not being raised a practicing Jew, I’ve always joked with friends in circles, even with — in the campaign, I said say, guys, I’m Jew-ish. Remember I was raised Catholic.
So, look, I understand. Everybody wants to nitpick at me.
I’m going to reassure this once and for all — I’m not a facade. I’m not a persona. I have an extensive career that I worked really hard to achieve. And I’m going to deliver from my experience because I remain committed in delivering results for the American people.
I campaigned on inflation. I campaigned on crime. I campaigned on education. I campaigned on delivering results for the American people. That’s what the people of the 3rd congressional district heard me on and on as I campaigned.
Now, it’s going to be incumbent upon me to deliver on those results. And I look forward to servicing — servicing —
GABBARD: You’re exactly right.
SANTOS: — and serving my peop — my district. I look forward to serving my people and my district —
GABBARD: The results — the results that people are looking for.
SANTOS: — to make sure that this is what —
GABBARD: The results that people are looking for —
SANTOS: Yeah. Well —
GABBARD: — are called into question when you tell blatant lies, not embellishment.
And this is — this is I think one of the biggest concerns, Congressman-elect, is that you don’t really seem to be taking this seriously. You’ve apologized. You said you’ve made mistakes, but you’ve outright lie (ph).
A lie is not an embellishment on a resume. You said you worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, but they’ve said we’ve got no record of this guy working for us. You’ve said you’ve gone to and graduated from these universities, but they’ve said, well, we’ve got no record of that.
These are blatant lies and it calls into question how your constituents and the American people can believe anything that you may say when you were standing on the floor of the House of Representatives supposedly fighting for them. That’s the real issue here.
SANTOS: Well, look, and I agree with what you’re saying. And as I stated and I continue, we can debate my resume and how I worked with firms such as Goldman and Citigroup or my —
GABBARD: Is it debatable or is it just false? Is it debatable or is it just false?
SANTOS: It’s very debatable. No. No, it’s not false at all. It’s debatable.
I can — I can sit down and explain to you what you can do in private equity, in capital … (ph) via servicing limited partners and general partners.
And we can have this discussion that’s going to go way above the American people’s head. But that’s not what I campaigned on. I campaigned on delivering results —
SANTOS: — for the people American people by lowering inflation. I can sit down and if you want to have that discussion, I’d be glad to, Tulsi, to explain that to you and make sure —
GABBARD: Congressman-elect —
SANTOS: — that we settle the score.
GABBARD: This is not about settling scores. And I think you just — you just kind of highlighted, I think, my concern and the concern that people at home have. You’re saying that this discussion will go way above the heads of the American people, basically insulting their intelligence. So, not only are you now backtracking on these lies —
SANTOS: That’s not — that’s not what I’m saying.
GABBARD: — that you’ve told —
SANTOS: But, Tulsi, that’s not what I’m saying.
GABBARD: But you’re saying that you can’t explain it in a way that your constituents would actually be able to understand and that these lies are debatable.
SANTOS: I can explain it in a way if you give me — if you give me the time, I can easily give the — if you give me the time, I can explain easily it for you, as in when investors are looking for capital, and I’m sitting there doing due diligence on the deci — on the appetite and what they’re looking for, right? And we worked along side GPs and LPs to help them place this capital.
This is what I was doing and that’s when I worked extensively with these firms and many other firms at my time as I was vice-president of Linkford (ph) Investors.
So, this isn’t — this isn’t a made up narrative. But I feel like nobody really wants to sit down and talk about it. Everybody just wants to push me and call me a liar.
Look, I embellished my resume.
GABBARD: Congressman-elect Santos —
SANTOS: I did —
GABBARD: 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 the depth of your deception to them.
Thank you so much for being here and joining us.
SANTOS: Thank you, Tulsi.