It turns out that New York’s congressman-to-be misled, embellished, fabricated and outright lied about parts of his life — including his religion.
But, he insists, “I’m not a fraud.”
Santos has faced scrutiny over discrepancies in his employment and education history, as well as other public claims he has made about his biography. In interviews with WABC radio and the New York Post – the first times Santos has spoken publicly about the controversy – he acknowledged that he had fabricated some facts.
“I am not a criminal. Not here, not abroad, in any jurisdiction in the world have I ever committed any crimes,” Santos said in an interview with WABC radio host John Catsimatidis.
“To get down to the nit and gritty, I’m not a fraud. I’m not a criminal who defrauded the entire country and made up this fictional character and ran for Congress. I’ve been around a long time. I mean, a lot of people know me. They know who I am. They’ve done business dealings with me,” he added.
“I’m not going to make excuses for this, but a lot of people overstate in their resumes, or twist a little bit. … I’m not saying I’m not guilty of that,” he said.
Santos also told the Post that he didn’t graduate from any college or university, despite claiming he had degrees from Baruch College and New York University.
“I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” he told the Post, adding that he owns up to that and that “we do stupid things in life.”
He told WABC, “I want to make sure that if I disappointed anyone by resume embellishment, I am sorry…”
… CNN’s KFile also reported last week that claims by Santos that his grandparents “survived the Holocaust” as Ukrainian Jewish refugees from Belgium who changed their surname are contradicted by sources including family trees compiled by genealogy websites, records on Jewish refugees and interviews with multiple genealogists. A lawyer for Santos had declined to comment to CNN.
“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos told the Post. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”