Questions have been swirling after reports suggested McCarthy may have known about the lies on Santos’ résumé, and that a Santos campaign staffer allegedly lied to wealthy donors as he impersonated McCarthy’s chef of staff in fundraising telephone calls and emails – all before the election – while McCarthy said nothing.
On Monday when asked by reporters about the possibly illegal impersonation, McCarthy appeared to downplay the issue.
“You know, I didn’t know about that, it happened. They corrected but I was not notified about that until a later date,” McCarthy insisted, in what could be seen as an especially evasive response – especially since he was not asked when he knew, but if. “I didn’t know about it until a later date though, unfortunately,” he said, repeating himself.
But on Tuesday Speaker McCarthy became even more involved. Rather than directing reporters’ questions to Santos’ office, he offered remarks that appeared to give cover to Santos.
CNN’s Manu Raju reports, “Asked if he had concerns before the election about Santos, McCarthy said: ‘My staff had concerns when he had a staff member impersonate my chief of staff and that individual was let go when Mr. Santos found out about it.'”
Last week The New York Times reported on “The Mysterious, Unregistered Fund That Raised Big Money for Santos.”
“One donor said that he gave to the PAC after being contacted by Samuel Miele, who said in an email that he was the vice president of Rise NY. Mr. Miele was also working directly for Mr. Santos, but was later fired after he was caught impersonating a staffer for Representative Kevin McCarthy, at the time the Republican minority leader, in a fund-raising appeal, several people close to the campaign said.”
The Washington Times last month, citing a “a GOP insider,” reported that McCarthy, or at least his aides, knew as far back as August 2021 of the impersonation.
“McCarthy’s aides first learned of the Santos staffer’s behavior in August 2021 when a suspicious donor flagged as ‘unusual’ the contact from Mr. McCarthy’s congressional office.”
Citing Raju’s reporting, Politico adds that “McCarthy is handling his conference’s biggest headache, Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), by staying calm and making sure he doesn’t lose a member in the House.”
Watch McCarthy’s remarks below or at this link.