A local newspaper publisher has described meeting George Santos in 2020, saying the future Republican Congressman came across as “really a weirdo right from the start.”

Santos is under pressure to resign following claims he fabricated much of his resume, including his education and employment history and falsely claiming his mother died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On Saturday Grant Lally, publisher of Long Island newspaper The North Shore Leader, appeared on MSNBC to discuss Santos seeking his support in 2020.

He said: “Three years ago, in January 2020 he reached out to us via a woman that we both knew, and wanted to sit down and wanted our support.

“I had actually run for the seat many years before that, and he was looking for my support and so I sat down with him for about an hour and a half. I asked him a lot of questions, a lot of pointed questions, a lot of personal questions, not an unfriendly meeting at all, but he was really a weirdo right from the start.

“He was evasive, he was also just basking in the attention that he was getting, which I thought was very weird for a guy who at the time was only 31 years old, but claimed to be a multimillionaire financier.”

George Santos in the House of Representatives
George Santos looks on as the US House of Representatives convenes for the 118th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 3, 2023. A local New York newspaper publisher said Santos was “really a weirdo” when they met in 2020.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY

Lally said he thought Santos was lying about parts of his backstory, but the full extent of his deceit was beyond our “wildest expectations.”

He explained: “The New York Times did some great reporting and some great digging, and we felt very vindicated because we had called him out as a fake, we call him a fabulist, and he – it was beyond our wildest expectations.

“We didn’t think someone would lie about attending Baruch College. We didn’t think someone would lie about working at Goldman Sachs. I knew, by the way, that he wasn’t Jewish because the first time I met him, I asked him about his heritage and his background in Brazil, and I don’t think he expected it, and so he actually told the truth.”

Newsweek has contacted Santos for comment.

Santos admitted he hadn’t attended Baruch College or worked for either Goldman Sachs or Citigroup during an interview with the New York Post in late December.

He had also claimed to be the “grandson of Holocaust refugees,” though an investigation by The Forward found the grandparents in question were actually born in Brazil before WWII.

This week Santos has denied performing as an amateur drag queen after Brazilian drag queen Eula Rochard told MSNBC reporter Marisa Kabas they had worked with Santos when he was in his 20s, and provided photographs which they claimed identified him.

Earlier this week Politico revealed the existence of a Wikipedia account in the name of Anthony Devolder, a known Santos alias, which in 2011 claimed they had started performing as a drag queen aged 17.

The user also claimed they’d appeared in a number of TV shows, including ‘Hannah Montana’ and ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.’

Newsweek has not been able to independently verify if Santos was running the Anthony Devolder Wikipedia account.

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