Rep. George Santos says he can prove he is 'Jew-ish'—but the war in Ukraine is delaying it

Philip Yabut/ShutterStock (Licensed)

George Santos says war in Ukraine is preventing him from proving he’s ‘Jew-ish’

‘My grandfather comes from Ukraine.’


Katherine Huggins


Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) doubled down on his claim that he has Jewish heritage on Sunday—but said he won’t be able to prove it amid the war in Ukraine.

The controversy surrounding Santos’ heritage stemmed from a report that he claimed to be a “proud American Jew” in a memo sent to pro-Israel groups during his campaign—despite being Catholic.

Santos defended himself in an interview with the New York Post, arguing that he never said he was Jewish.

“I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was Jew-ish,” Santos said in December.

While Santos had admitted to a number of lies—including about his education and work history—he said Sunday that his claim he has Jewish ancestry is something “I’m gonna prove before I die.”

“That’s what I spent the last 10 months doing, putting together, but unfortunately, Ukraine is in the middle of a freaking war, and my grandfather comes from Ukraine,” Santos told CNN.

The Sunday interview received pushback on social media, as some users argued that Russia’s war against Ukraine shouldn’t impact his ability to prove his ancestry.

“Wow that’s crazy cause even with a war going on, my Ancestry DNA still confirms I’m Ukrainian…Almost like he’s full of shit,” wrote one X user along with a screenshot of her Ancestry DNA results.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) responded to the interview as well, writing that “George Santos, the first ever Jew-ish US Congressman, is at it again.”

“George Santos is a Hall of Fame liar. AncestryDNA or any other genealogical service could determine his ancestry in a matter of days,” commented another user.

CNN previously reported that Santos’ maternal grandparents were born in Brazil, however, Santos says those records were falsified after they fled from Europe due to the Holocaust.

Brazil admitted 96,000 Jewish immigrants between 1918 and 1933 and 12,000 between 1933 and 1941, according to the U.S. Department of State. Following World War II, Brazil saw an influx of both displaced Jewish refugees and former Nazi officials.

Pressed about providing documentation proving his claim, Santos said he is “working on finishing getting the last pieces of it, specifically the piece in Brazil where they go to Brazil, and then have documents forged so that they can blend in and all of that.”

He added that once the documentation is all ready, he “will allow the same company I hired to submit the report to the press with glee, because that is going to be the one thing that I will be able to say I never intended to hurt anybody, I never wanted anybody to feel like I misrepresented myself or my family’s heritage.”

Santos currently faces a 23-count federal indictment related to charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and lying to Congress. He pled not guilty.

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