In a 40-minute interview with the British TV personality released Monday, Santos was grilled on a list of items he’s been accused of lying about.
These included: that he went to an elite New York private school; got a master’s degree in business; worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup; that his mother was working in the Twin Towers at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; that he’s Jewish; and that he had never been a drag queen.
“Part of your cathartic process of redemption has got to start from ‘I’ve been a terrible liar,’” Morgan told Santos at one point. “Would you be prepared to say that?
“Sure, I’ve been a terrible liar on those subjects,” Santos said. However, he shifted blame to Republicans, claiming his fabrications weren’t about “tricking the people,” but were aimed toward getting “accepted by the party here locally.”
Santos admitted he didn’t have a college degree and never worked “as a direct employee” at either Wall Street institution, though he insisted he’d worked with them. Pressed on whether he attended the Horace Mann private school, he said he had attended it for six months in 2004, but was unsure what name he would have attended under. The school has told CNN it had no records of Santos or any of his aliases.
He also maintained that his claim about his mother was true. When Morgan pointed out that there was no evidence that Santos’ mother had ever worked at the World Trade Center, or that she was even in the country on Sept. 11, 2001, Santos couldn’t offer any explanation.
On being Jewish, Santos insisted he said it (multiple times, in multiple forums), as a “party favor joke,” reusing his widely ridiculed defense that he claimed to be “Jew-ish.”
He said he’d dressed up in drag once, but that didn’t make him a drag queen.
Throughout the interview, he attacked the media for scrutinizing him, characterizing journalists’ efforts to identify the lies he told to get elected as a “witch hunt.”
Asked how he expected to get away with all the dishonesty, Santos said: “Well, I’ll humor you this. I ran in 2020 for the same exact seat for Congress and I got away with it then.”