Since January, there has been a stench in the halls of Congress. That is when George Santos arrived in D.C. to represent the good citizens of New York’s Third Congressional District. As the first Brazilian American to serve in Congress, there was considerable interest in the new legislator. He had won in a Democratic district. His election contributed to the slim Republican majority in the House.
On December 1, The House flushed the toilet. Although long overdue, the action was a rare instance of bipartisan cooperation. A breath of fresh air.
Since Santos left the Capitol grounds, saying, “To hell with this place,” three people have asked me what Santos will do next. Given the offenses alleged against him and documented in a House Ethics Committee report, one might comment, “Who cares?” The three people asking about Santos, however, seemed somehow concerned about him. One asked, “How will he ever get another job?” I responded, “I don’t think Santos ever wanted one.”
Santos may end up in jail, given the felonies alleged against him. A residential, lock-down mental health facility may also lie in his future. Given his remarkable ability to lie, the National Institute of Mental Health may also want to spend time with Santos. The Guinness Book may wish to study Santos to update its 2024 edition.
My answer to the question of what is next for Santos is based on an analysis of Santos’ character and that of Donald Trump’s. The two men are surprisingly similar in some ways. While Trump has never claimed to be gay or a former Goldman Sachs employee, both are skilled and persistent liars. Neither hesitates to lie in the face of witnesses, photos, and videos disproving their lies. And both see themselves as victims. As expulsion approached, Santos claimed that he had been bullied by fellow members of Congress. Trump claims that he is the victim of a small army of deranged, Trump-hating prosecutors and judges, RINOs, communists, and lunatics.
A New York State judge found Trump guilty of fraud. The defeated ex-president has also been accused of cheating tenants of his buildings by overcharging them, evading state and federal taxes, not paying vendors, and abusing the legal system to prevent his victims from holding him accountable in court. Santos has not been able to threaten anyone with endless litigation, but it is easy to imagine him doing so if he had Trump’s resources. Santos made fraudulent charges on the credit cards of people dumb enough to contribute to his campaign. Trump set up a confusing website for “recurring” contributions that led some contributors to inadvertently commit to monthly rather than one-time contributions. It is easy to imagine Santos engaging in similar trickery.
George Santos was in Congress for about 11 months. During this time, there is little evidence that he ever worked on legislation or tried to fulfill the responsibilities of being a congressman. Trump was president for four years and routinely skipped security briefings, made policy by “gut instinct,” watched a lot of television, played golf, and plotted to overturn the 2020 presidential election, with the first discussions occurring before election day. The two men share a disdain for work. They are both comfortable enjoying elective office without doing any work. My analysis of Santos and Trump led me to believe that Trump should resist the temptation of selecting Tucker Carlson, Kari Lake, Marjorie Taylor Green, Matt Gaetz, or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as his running mate and choose George Santos instead.
Some may suggest that voters will reject a candidate under criminal indictment. Trump has already proven that assumption to be wrong. Others wonder what would happen if someone were elected to national office and later was convicted of a felony. Trump is expected to pardon himself should he regain the White House in the 2024 election or through a successful coup. Logically, he could pardon Santos at the same time he pardons himself. He could also send the army in to prevent the enforcement of any state conviction against himself or his VP.
Trump and Santos are two peas in a pod. It is the ideal Republican ticket.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.