'Always give each other mulligans': Republican blasted for saying George Santos deserves a 'second chance'
George Santos (Photo by Wade Vandervort for AFP)

Many Republicans have been unwilling or reluctant to speak out about the scandal that has been dogging Rep.-Elect George Santos, the Queens/Long Island Republican who—according to the New York Times, CNN and others — lied about his history countless times. And some Republicans have outright defended Santos, including far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

But one outgoing GOP member of the U.S. House of Representatives who is willing to publicly criticize Santos is Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas. During a New Year’s Day 2023 appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the 66-year-old conservative lawmaker urged Santos to think about resigning.

Brady, a former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Fox News, “This is troubling in so many ways. Certainly, he’s lied repeatedly. He certainly is going to have to consider resigning.”

The outgoing congressman also said of Santos, “We’re a country of second chances. And when people are willing to turn their life around and own up to this and do what it takes and earn respect and trust again, you know, we’re willing to do that.”

Santos admitted that he “embellished” his resumé, but the lies that the New York Times, CNN and others exposed went way beyond mere embellishment. Santos lied about having Jewish heritage, falsely claimed that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, lied about working for Wall Street banks, and lied about his education.

But Santos, despite the scandal, appears to be on track to be sworn into Congress this Tuesday, January 3, when the new Republican House majority will be seated. Brady won’t be serving in the House with him; the conservative congressman, who was first elected to Congress via the Houston area in 1996, decided not to seek reelection in 2022. January 2, 2023 is Brady’s last full day as a member of Congress.

Although Brady was highly critical of Santos during his “Fox News Sunday” appearance, some Twitter users believe that he wasn’t critical enough and was too forgiving.

Twitter user @pleasesaveour, on New Year’s Day, posted, “Kevin Brady who is leaving Congress, also said Santos could be forgiven by the GOP for owning up to the false statements and that it wasn’t up to the party to punish Santos. That's exactly who needs to punish him.”

@TruWordsRSpoken commented, “Rethugs always give each other Mulligans. It’s only Democrats to whom they show no mercy.” And @AytchAnd wrote, “Kevin Brady seems to be @thehill’s favorite new quote machine on Trump’s taxes, George Santos etc even though so far everything he has said have been total bullsh*t.”

Len Lubinsky, @nymass, publisher of Len’s Political Notes, tweeted, “Rep. Kevin Brady from Texas says that pathological liar George Santos deserves a second chance. With a third chance (if you only count campaigns for Congress), Santos will learn to lie even better.”

Twitter user David Matheny, @DavidMatheny1, posted, “Rep. Kevin Brady says George Santos decision is between him and his voters. How would that work? Should we poll them, now that they've seen what he is? There is such a thing as character, and Santos has revealed that his is despicably sociopathic. This is not an image problem.”

But an article written by Texas Tribune reporter Stephen Neukam and published on December 9 was much more favorable to Brady. Neukam described the retiring congressman as a lawmaker who favored policymaking over performative theatrics and didn’t go out of his way to demonize Democrats he disagreed with.

“Nationally, Brady keeps a lower profile than many of Texas’ other firebrands who are apt to start fights on social media and who are regulars on cable news,” Neukam wrote. “But in Congress, he is regarded by his peers, even some Democrats, as a serious statesman who is more concerned about getting work done than he is about getting a headline.”

Neukam, however, also wrote that “despite an occasional willingness to work with Democrats, Brady is a loyal Republican foot soldier” who “voted in line with Trump nearly 97 percent of the time and has voted with (President Joe) Biden’s position just under 13 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.” The Tribune reporter pointed out that Brady voted against impeaching Trump twice and has been a defender of the former president.

Interviewed by the Tribune, Brady commented, “Social media has been a challenge. It’s so unfiltered. It goes so ugly, so fast. It tends to divide in big ways.”