George Santos identified as Anthony Devolder at #WalkAway events

Representative George Santos waits for the start of a session in the House chamber in Washington on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.
Representative George Santos waits for the start of a session in the House chamber in Washington on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Multiple videos that were uncovered by a group that is “monitoring and exposing right-wing extremism and other threats to democracy” show that Republican George Santos has been lying about his accomplishments and using at least two versions of his name for years.

In a 2019 video that was published on Twitter by @PatriotTakes, Santos, using the name Anthony Devolder, asks Blair White, a transgender woman and a social media influencer, “How do you think that as a trans woman and a conservative you can help educate other trans people from not having to follow the narrative that the media and the Democrats put forward?”

The question came in a #WalkAway Campaign event held in New York City that featured Brandon Straka, the #WalkAway Campaign founder; White; Mike Harlow, also a social media influencer; and Rob Smith, a veteran who is best known for helping end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that barred LGBTQ people from serving in the US military. The #WalkAway Campaign urges Democrats to leave that political party and join the Republican Party. Straka, Harlow, and Smith are gay.

Straka became a darling of the right in 2018 when he published a video on YouTube in which he renounced his membership in the Democratic Party, a membership that was nominal at best, and joined the Republican Party. He went on to host #WalkAway events that urged people to join the Republican Party, gave interviews to media outlets, spoke at pro-Trump rallies, and joined the January 6 attack on the Capitol building. Straka pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to three months of home detention with electronic monitoring, three years on probation, a $5,000 fine, and $500 restitution for damage to the building.

Santos, who claims that his full name is George Anthony Devolder Santos, used the Anthony Devolder name again at a second #WalkAway 2019 event, also published by @PatriotTakes, when he said that abortion is “infanticide” and added “How about not getting pregnant and how about avoiding to having to abort kids?”

@PatrtiotTakes published another video that appears to be from 2020 when Santos ran in and lost a race against Democrat Tom Suozzi in a Long Island congressional district. The video shows a club member introducing Santos, but expressing confusion about whether his name is George Santos or Anthony Devolder.

The club member reads a portion of Santos’ fraudulent resume that has him claiming to have worked at Goldman Sachs and says “That’s very impressive, George, Anthony, whatever you are.”

The North Shore Leader, a local Long Island news outlet, first reported Santos’ various lies about his finances and background. The New York Times added more facts to the list of Santos’ lies.

The Nassau County Republican Party and a small number of House Republicans have called on Santos to resign. At a January 11 press conference, The Nassau County Republicans said Santos was no longer in the party. In a tweet on that same day, Santos wrote “I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living. I will NOT resign!”

As evidenced by the proceedings to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House, Santos received a cold reception from his fellow Republicans during the five days and 15 votes required to put McCarthy in that position. C-Span, which provided ongoing coverage, could focus its cameras anywhere in the House and showed Santos frequently sitting alone during the early days of that vote. In the later votes, a few Republicans were willing to be seen talking to Santos. Speakers from both parties have historically preferred that the cameras only focus on the podiums that members use when they debate.

While most House members did not want to be seen with Santos, Republicans needed his vote in the speaker’s vote and will continue to need his vote. The Republicans hold 222 House seats compared to the 213 seats held by Democrats. To be elected speaker, McCarthy needed 218 votes and he could not afford to lose Santos’ support. On January 17, multiple media outlets reported that Santos was appointed to the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.