How Do You Solve a Problem Like George Santos?

By now, you probably know a lot about George Santos, the congressman who scammed with abandon and made up almost everything. His college diploma. His grandparents who “survived” the Holocaust. Many of his most egregious untruths were unveiled by The New York Times last December. This week, the House Ethics Committee went even further, reporting that he had used campaign money for Atlantic City trips and things marked “Botox.”

This most recent round of investigative revelations prompted Mr. Santos to say he won’t run for re-election, as his fellow House members try once again to expel him. But the fact that he remains in Congress highlights something crucial about the people’s House. It’s a Congress that this week featured a former speaker being accused of playing a sharp-elbowed bully and a senator getting ready for Mortal Kombat with the Teamsters president. Even in that company, Mr. Santos stands out by exposing just how much craziness the Republican Party is willing to tolerate in pursuit of narrow partisan gains.

The biographical lies and widely reported small-time hustles that boosted Mr. Santos pale in comparison with his penchant for “just throwing ideas.”

I’m borrowing that phrase directly from Mr. Santos, who said it in a Spaces conversation on X, formerly Twitter, in October, shortly after Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel. After saying that the ambush made him worried about “the kind of danger that we’re in on a national security front,” he started freestyling ways for the United States not to get “caught sleeping,” as happened before Sept. 11. Maybe we should take a close look at people who waved Palestinian flags at a protest — he thought there was “probable cause” to check them out. Or perhaps federal agents should be vetting people more broadly: “I think every inch of this country at this point should be mapped out again and completely checked,” he said, without getting into specifics. “I don’t care if we go into a police state for a couple of months.”

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