Fact Check

No, George Santos Didn't Tweet That MLK Encouraged Him To Run for Congress

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, 20 years before Rep. George Santos was born.

Published Jan 13, 2023

 (Twitter screenshot)
Image Via Twitter screenshot
Claim:
In January 2023, Rep. George Santos tweeted, "When Martin Luther King encouraged me to run for Congress I didn't think much of it. But over time I've realized he was right. And now that I've been elected, I refuse to spit on his grave and resign."

Newly elected U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., had not yet even taken the oath of office when members both parties began calling for his resignation for lying about his background. Amid growing controversy, exacerbated by accusations of criminal activity, Santos refused to resign. As typically happens, the noisy kerfuffle quickly became fodder for internet jokesters and meme-makers. 

One example of such a meme was a fake tweet, falsely attributed to Santos himself, in which he supposedly claimed that he was encouraged to run for Congress by Martin Luther King Jr. (who died 20 years before Santos was even born). Given Santos' reputation for lying, it apparently struck some social media users as authentic, even though it was clearly labeled (at the bottom) as "parody."

 George Santos encouraged to run for Congress by Martin Luther King Jr.

The fake tweet read: 

When Martin Luther King encouraged me to run for Congress I didn't think much of it. But over time I've realized he was right. And now that I've been elected, I refuse to spit on his grave and resign.

It appears to have originated with the Faith Back Rub Twitter account, whose profile states, "Most of our screenshots are parodies." 

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

"https://Twitter.Com/Faithrubpol." Twitter, https://twitter.com/faithrubpol. Accessed 13 Jan. 2023.

Palma, Bethania. "NY Congressional Rep.-Elect George Santos Under Fire for 'Embellishments.'" Snopes, 30 Dec. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/12/29/claims-by-us-rep-elect-george-santos/.

Rep. George Santos Sworn into Congress as Some Constituents Call for His Resignation. https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/george-santos-sworn-in-protest-rally/. Accessed 13 Jan. 2023.

David Emery is a Portland-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

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