Maybe there’s a way back for the lyin’, cheatin’ opportunist, George Santos.
The embattled Congressman should look for inspiration to Al Sharpton, who gave the eulogy at the funeral for Tyre Nichols.
Sharpton is the poster child for redemption, at least in liberal Democratic circles. His prominence is illustrated by the NY Times’ decision to have his picture featured with its Wednesday, Feb. 2 “Today’s Headlines” story on the funeral, Memphis Gathers in Grief at Tyre Nichols’s Funeral.
Sharpton’s infamous rise in public notoriety has been well documented. As NPR put it in 2014, “Sharpton built a career as an incendiary racial avenger who for decades was drawn to interracial controversies as if they had some irresistible gravitational force.”
Still, he has recovered as an ally of liberals, even securing a political alliance with former president Barack Obama.
President Obama stood with the Rev. Al Sharpton at Sharpton’s National Action Network conference in April 2014 (Frank Franklin II/AP)
A 1987-1988 case that drew national attention revolved around Sharpton’s involvement with 15-year-old Tawana Brawley. A Black woman from New York, Brawley accused six white men of raping her and leaving her in a garbage bag smeared with and covered with racist words written in charcoal.
Sharpton accused government officials of trying to cover up for the rapists because they were white and led the way in spurring a national uproar over the case.
He was later rebuked and fined after a grand jury concluded that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she may herself have created the appearance of an attack.
In 1991, Sharpton stirred up black fury in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, NY when a Jewish driver hit and killed a black boy, Gavin Cato, with his car.
At the boy’s funeral, Sharpton vilified Jewish “diamond merchants” who killed black children in Brooklyn.
Days of anti-Semitic riots culminated in the murder of Yankel Rosenbaum, an Australian Jew who had nothing to do with the incident, being stabbed to death in the midst of a mob of about 30.
The New York Post reported that after the driver of the car was cleared of charges and left for Israel, Sharpton flew to Tel Aviv to slap the driver with a civil suit. When a passer-by at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport recognized Sharpton, she shouted, “Go to hell!”
“I am in hell already,” Sharpton replied. “I am in Israel.”
In December 1995, during a Harlem protest stirred up by Sharpton, a black man entered Freddy’s Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned clothing store, took out a gun, ordered the black customers to leave and set a fire that killed himself and eight other people.
Sharpton was accused of having spurred the devastation by delivering and facilitating incendiary racist and anti-Semitic comments on black radio stations and at the protest.
In Sept. 2013, the New York Post reported that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had written in a previously secret diary, “Al Sharpton has done more damage to the black cause than [segregationist Alabama Gov.] George Wallace. He has suffocated the decent black leaders in New York. His transparent venal blackmail and extortion schemes taint all black leadership.”
The Democratic Party, while jumping at every opportunity to lambaste George Santos for his cavalcade of lies, continues to embrace Sharpton. President Joe Biden has even solicited Sharpton’s advice and met with him in the White House.
Like Nadia Vulvokov in the Netflix series Russian Doll, I expect Sharpton will continue to show up repeatedly at Democratic Party venues.
So, hey, in politics anything is possible. If he plays it smart, George Santos may enjoy a similar resurrection with the Republican Party. He could even run for president.