scorecardWhen George Santos moves into the office next door, ‘it’s like being in a cartoon,’ Hill staffer says
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When George Santos moves into the office next door, ‘it’s like being in a cartoon,’ Hill staffer says

Nicole Gaudiano   

When George Santos moves into the office next door, ‘it’s like being in a cartoon,’ Hill staffer says
PoliticsPolitics2 min read
  • Rep.-elect George Santos moved into his new Capitol Hill office, surprising his next door neighbors.
  • "I was like, 'Why is there a press stakeout right outside our office?'" said one Hill staffer.

The halls on the first floor of the Longworth House Office Building seemed empty and quiet when Capitol Hill staffer Aaron Fritschner got to work early on Tuesday, the first day of the 118th Congress.

Then he turned a corner and saw a press stakeout with more than a dozen reporters and two cameras. They had camped out close to his boss Democratic Rep. Don Beyer's office. Fritschner stopped in his tracks.

"I was like, 'Why is there a press stakeout right outside our office? What happened? Did my boss do something?'" Fritschner, Beyer's deputy chief of staff and communications director, told Insider.

That's when he learned that their new office neighbor was Rep.-elect George Santos, the New York Republican embroiled in scandal over his myriad lies about his resume and background.

"I saw the nameplate and I just started laughing," Fritschner said.

Some workers have loud talkers as neighbors or colleagues who think nothing of ripping open a can of tuna. The Beyer team now has Santos, who spent his first day on the Hill dodging reporters, being ostracized by his new colleagues, and being photographed yawning as Republicans struggled to settle on a House speaker.

Santos' lengthy list of fabrications includes false claims about his mother's death, work history, education, and religion. He also called himself "a proud American Jew," but later claimed he meant "Jew-ish."

House lawmakers get their offices in a lottery system, so some of Beyer's neighbors are new this session. Fritschner said he forgot the office lottery, but the team is happy working near the Ways and Means Committee room, where Beyer serves. And he doesn't expect to be neighbors with Santos for very long.

"I'm not even going to say this to be, like, political," he said. "I don't think he's going to be here for a long time."

In the meantime, this isn't all bad. Sure, there's times when you may not want a huge stakeout outside your doors, Fritschner said, but Hill staffers are like anyone else.

"When there's a crazy show happening, part of you wants to watch it," he said. "And we have a front row seat."

Fritschner said he spotted Santos once on Tuesday when he tried to sneak out a side door to his office, employing a well-worn, embattled-member tactic. Fritschner was talking to a reporter and facing that side door when Santos emerged.

"It took me a second to process because he had, like, a much larger staffer, sort of like, body block for him, so you couldn't see him right away," Fritschner said. "And then I saw the back of his head and I was like, 'What?' And I said, 'There he goes,' and then all the press started chasing after him."

In general, Fritschner said the experience feels like something that would happen on the show, "Scooby Doo."

"It's one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me, honestly," he said. "It's like being in a cartoon."

Santos isn't the first famous person to occupy that office. When Beyer moved into his suite at the end of 2016, the office was occupied by another New York Republican.

That would be Chris Collins, who was pardoned by former President Donald Trump after pleading guilty to securities fraud and making false statements to the FBI.




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