Fact Check

Did George Santos' Website Incorrectly Announce He Was Sworn in to US House?

Slight problem: The House had no speaker to swear anyone in at the time.

Published Jan 4, 2023

 (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Image Via Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Article 2 of 6 in Collection
Claim:
A news release was posted on U.S. Rep. George Santos' website saying he was sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2023, even though the U.S. House had not yet elected a speaker to conduct swearing-in ceremonies.
Context

Santos was not the only lawmaker who posted such a news release, and possibly was unaware of it going out. Some speculated the statement was a generic and likely automated release, given that the lawmakers were expected to be sworn in right after the election of the House speaker (which didn't happen).

Republican U.S. Rep. George Santos, under fire for fabricating much of his life story, released another bit of incorrect information, though perhaps inadvertently. On Jan. 3, 2023, Republicans who held the House by a slim majority were unable to elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker due to internal divisions. As a result of having no speaker of the House, incoming lawmakers could not be officially sworn-in. 

But this turmoil did not stop a news release from being posted on Santos' official website stating the freshman lawmaker "was sworn in as a Member of the United States House of Representatives by the Speaker of the House on January 3rd, 2023." 

Many users online posted screenshots of the release before it was taken down, though an archived version of the page can be found here

Santos wasn't the only lawmaker whose site published such an announcement, however, indicating the possibility that these were automatic announcements published on the assumption that the political process to elect a House speaker would go smoothly. Politico reporter Olivia Beavers tweeted that she was told that the post was crafted by the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer for all first-time lawmakers, and was published without the knowledge of some of their teams.

According to the Washington Post, identical statements were posted for freshman incoming representatives Robert Garcia, Michael Lawler, and Yadira Caraveo. 

Santos' website posting came with more criticism, however, as the New York politician made headlines for admitting to fabricating key parts of his life story. Some of his fabrications included his educational background and work history. He was also under investigation by federal and New York prosecutors on whether he committed any crimes involving his finances and by lying about his background while on the campaign trail.

Given that there was no House speaker elected on Jan. 3, not a single lawmaker was sworn in that day. Meanwhile, on Jan. 4, 2023, McCarthy was losing his fifth bid to be House speaker, as Republicans remained deadlocked at the time of this reporting. 

In sum, Santos' website did incorrectly state he had been sworn in, though this was not unique to Santos. We thus rate this claim as "True." 

Article 2 of 6 in Collection

Sources

Ashford, Grace, and Michael Gold. "Who Is Rep.-Elect George Santos? His Résumé May Be Largely Fiction." The New York Times, 19 Dec. 2022. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/19/nyregion/george-santos-ny-republicans.html. Accessed 4 Jan. 2023.

"Santos Sits Alone as Resignation Calls Mount Over His Lies." Bloomberg, 3 Jan. 2023. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-04/santos-sits-alone-as-resignation-calls-mount-over-his-lies. Accessed 4 Jan. 2023.

"George Santos Wrongly Announced He Was Sworn in. He Wasn't the Only One." Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/04/george-santos-sworn-in-mistake-house/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2023.

Gold, Michael, et al. "George Santos Faces Federal and Local Investigations, and Public Dismay." The New York Times, 28 Dec. 2022. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/28/nyregion/george-santos-long-island-investigation.html. Accessed 4 Jan. 2023.

Taking the Oath of Office | Representative George Santos. 3 Jan. 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230103205326/https://santos.house.gov/media/press-releases/taking-oath-office. Accessed 4 Jan. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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