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George Santos faces questions after saying 9/11 ‘took my mother’s life’

George Santos faces questions after saying 9/11 ‘took my mother’s life’

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When George Santos mentioned his family during his campaign for Congress, the New York Republican often reflected on the work ethic and strength of his mother, Fatima Devolder, and how she survived the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. where she was working that day.

But as the newly elected representative comes under increasing pressure to explain after it was revealed that he had lied about his business background, education and family background, Santos now faces questions about what appears to be a controversial account of his mother’s death .

In two 2021 tweets by Santos, first reported by journalist Yashar Ali late Wednesday, the Republican suggested Devolder died at different times. In July 2021, Santos responded to a Twitter account called “9/11 was a victimless crime”.

“9/11 took my mom’s life… so I’m blocking so I don’t have to read this again,” Santos wrote.

In December 2021, Santos tweeted to mark the fifth anniversary of his mother’s death in 2016.

“December 23rd this year marks 5 years since I lost my best friend and mentor,” he said wrote. “Mom, you will live forever in my heart.”

On his campaign websiteSantos’ team admitted that while “George’s mother was in her office in the South Tower on September 11, 2001, when the horrific events of that day unfolded,” she was not among the more than 2,700 people killed in the World Trade Center center.

“She survived the tragic events of 9/11, but passed away a few years later when she lost her battle with cancer,” the campaign’s website says.

Short obituary for Devolder confirmed that she died on December 23, 2016, one day after celebrating her 54th birthday. The obituary incorrectly stated that she was 64 years old.

While many first responders and people around Kota Nula later developed health problems, including cancer, from exposure to the polluted air, critics were quick to point out the latest discrepancy in Santos’ personal history, as well as pointing out that 15 years is too long than “a few years later”.

“This guy must be a cameraman,” Ali tweeted. “My God.”

The Santos campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday.

Nassau County District Attorney Ann T. Donnelly (R) on Wednesday announced that opening an investigation in Santos for the “numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated” with him that are “nothing short of stunning.”

The attention of the Republican followed an explosive New York Times story on Dec 19 which details the repeated lies Santos has told about his background. Among the topics that have been questioned are whether he ever worked at Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, both of which said they had no record of his employment; whether he attended the preparatory school he claimed to have attended; and whether he graduated from college.

Santos also pushed an unsupported claim that four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016. Santos later told WABC that the four people “would come to work” at his company. And despite the previous ones public comments about having Jewish heritage, he later told the New York Post that he never claimed to be Jewish. Instead, he said he calls himself a “Jew.”

The scale of George Santos’ fraud – and the questions that remain

Even after he conceded in interviews this week — including a controversial segment with a former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Fox News — what he described as “resumé embellishment,” Santos said he was not a criminal and intended to serve in Congress.

Santos was seen as an unlikely Republican success story in November when he won a vacant Long Island congressional seat held by a Democrat. The victory pushed Santos into uncharted territory for the Republican Party, becoming the first out-of-state, openly gay Republican president to be elected to Congress.

But when the Times story came out last week, Santos faced immediate calls not to be included in the new Congress on Jan. 3. Although he is likely to be elected, Santos could still face ethics and other investigations. The House can also exclude him if two-thirds of the members agree to do so.

Santos’ mother was born Dec. 22, 1962, in Rio de Janeiro and immigrated with her family to the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens and “gave up everything to provide for George and her family,” according to Santos’ campaign website. Devolder was described by the Times as working as a housekeeper.

“George’s drive, commitment and determination were inspired by the legacy left by his mother,” the campaign’s website said. “She passed on the American dream to George, a debt he wants to repay to the rest of his neighbors and constituents.”

At least from 2021 4,627 respondents and survivors who enrolled in the World Trade Center health program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has died. Although not all deaths can be attributed to diseases related to Ground Zero exposures, researchers have identified more than 60 types of cancer, as well as approximately two dozen other diseases linked to Ground Zero exposures, according to Scientific American.

After earlier tweets from Santos about Devolder’s death resurfaced, the representative-elect faced fresh criticism from Democrats. Among them was Congressman Richie Torres (DN.Y.), who tweeted a list of the fabrications Santos has been linked to in recent days.

“Am I missing something?” Torres asked.

Azi Paibara and Aaron Blake contributed to this report.

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