Rep. George Santos, who lied about his mom surviving 9/11, is bringing a Ground Zero firefighter to the State of the Union
- George Santos is bringing a 9/11 first responder to Tuesday's State of the Union address.
- Michael Weinstock told The New York Times he is attending to raise awareness about his illness.
Rep. George Santos, who has been accused of lying about his mother's links to 9/11, among many other things, is set to bring a Ground Zero first responder to Tuesday's State of the Union address.
Santos invited Michael Weinstock, a former firefighter who did rescue work after the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, to attend President Joe Biden's address around two weeks ago, The New York Times reported.
Weinstock, who ran as a Democrat in the House district now represented by Santos, said he decided to accept the invitation because he wanted to raise awareness about chronic nerve disorder, a health condition he has and that he says is linked to pollutants he inhaled during his rescue efforts, according to The Times.
Members of Congress typically get one ticket to the State of the Union address, and they sometimes select a symbolic choice to make a political point.
Santos' choice of a 9/11 first responder is likely a response to reports suggesting that he lied about his mother, Fatima Devolder, having survived the 2001 tragedy.
Santos, who has been mired in controversy amid allegations that he has lied about his professional and personal life, claimed in a 2021 tweet that "9/11 claimed my mother's life". His campaign website still says that she was working in the South Tower on September 11, 2001, and later died of cancer.
However, a January report by Forward found that immigration records show Devolder wasn't even in the US at the time of the attacks. Rolling Stone reported that several law firms and organizations working with survivors had no records of his mother filing any compensation claim.
There is also no evidence that his mother worked in the South Tower at all, with immigration documents having described her as a housekeeper, per The Times.
Santos did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Pedro Vilarva, Santos' ex-boyfriend, told Insider last month that he had no knowledge of Devolder having survived 9/11, which was odd since he was born on that day in 1995.
"We spent my birthday together. If they knew my birthday was on that day, wouldn't you reference that or say something about it? Like, 'By the way, I was a 9/11 survivor.' No, they never said anything, not him and not his mom," he said.
Weinstock told The Times that he was "cautiously optimistic that I'll be able to stay focused enough on the issue of 9/11 responders receiving the health care that they need without being sullied by George Santos."
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