George Santos Lied About His Mom Surviving 9/11

George Santos at a June 2022 campaign event for Lee Zeldin. (Bruce Adler)
Photo by Bruce Adler

Admitted serial liar U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) also reportedly lied about his mother having been at the World Trade Center in Manhattan during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Santos has suggested 9/11-linked cancer caused the death of his mother, Fatima Caruso Devolder, who died in 2016 and the congressman had claimed she escaped the Twin Towers before they collapsed in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. But his mother, a Brazilian national, wrote in U.S. immigration paperwork that she had not been in the country for two years prior to the attacks, according to records unearthed by genealogist Alex Calzareth, who shared the documents with reporters.

“Three months before the attacks, Devolder filed a request with the U.S. Consulate in Rio for a replacement green card, saying hers had been stolen after she returned to Brazil in 1999,” The Forward, which first reported the story, wrote. “The situation was apparently not resolved, and another application was filed in early 2003. At that point, she stated that she had not been in the United States since 1999.”

The Forward had previously revealed genealogical records contradicting Santos’ claims that his maternal grandparents fled Nazi persecution during the Holocaust in World War II. That report came after The New York Times found that Santos falsely claimed to have had employees at the Pulse nightclub massacre that left 50 people dead in 2016. Santos has admitted he lied about being a college graduate who worked at prominent Wall Street investment firms, but has dodged questions about his finances that have sparked local, state and federal investigations

“George’s mother was in her office in the South Tower on September 11, 2001, when the horrific events of that day unfolded,” his campaign website states. “She survived the tragic events on September 11th, but she passed away a few years later when she lost her battle to cancer.”

Robert Zimmerman, the Democrat who Santos beat on Election Day, was appalled by the latest revelations.

“The fact that he would try to use the tragedy of the attack on 9/11 or the atrocity of the Holocaust or the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub as political stunts and gimmicks to get himself attention speaks to his hateful disregard for those who died in these tragedies and the families that suffered,” Zimmerman told the Press. “That is why I’m committed to building a bipartisan coalition to remove George Santos from office because he has demonstrated how dishonest and unfit he is to serve.”

Santos, who has repeatedly refused bipartisan calls to resign and was appointed by congressional Republican leaders to two committee assignments on Wednesday, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He did, however, tweet denials Thursday that he was once a drag queen in Brazil and stole $3,000 raised to help a disabled veteran’s dog that later died.