Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher said Democrats are partially to blame for the election of Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) in that he appealed to the party’s love of “victimhood” and “identity politics.”
Maher said on the first episode of the new season of his HBO show “Real Time” on Friday that Santos claimed to be among the first people in New York to be hospitalized for COVID-19, was Jewish and lost four of his employees in the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. His claims of being Jewish and losing employees have been demonstrated to be false, and his story of his experience with COVID-19 reportedly appears to have multiple inconsistencies.
“Everybody keeps asking, ‘How could a guy like this get elected?’ I’ll tell you how: Because no one cares anymore about substance. It’s all tribalism. The only thing that matters is ‘Is he on our team? Is he doing our shtick?’” Maher said.
He said Santos is the first person to realize that they can appeal to both sides of the political aisle and “get away with it” because people on both sides have “completely tuned out anything that doesn’t already fit their narrative.”
Maher said Santos appealed to Republicans by discussing his attendance at former President Trump’s rally at the Ellipse that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and appealed to Democrats through his identity, including that he is a person of color and has said he is gay.
Maher noted that the district where Santos won went for President Biden by 8 points and has leaned toward Democrats in recent years.
“Everyone saw in George Santos what they wanted to see,” he said.
Santos has faced calls from members of both parties to resign as a result of the numerous false claims he has made about himself. He is also under federal and local investigation over the claims he made as a candidate.