On Monday during the White House press briefing, a reporter asked if the administration has “any guidance on how many new members the president intends to have?”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she doesn’t have “any numbers to confirm with you at this time”.
“So it wouldn’t be the whole class?” the reporter asked.
“Again, I would have to go back to the Office of Legislative Affairs. As you know, that process is run through them. I don’t have a number to share at this time on who is confirmed to attend,” Ms Jean-Pierre added.
“And is George Santos invited?” the reporter added, prompting laughter in the briefing room after some hesitation from Ms Jean-Pierre.
“I love how everybody laughed at that,” the press secretary said.
“Well, look, as you know, it’s an event for the new member, the new Congress, so everyone is invited who is part of the new Congress. I just don’t have a confirmation on who is attending at this time,” she added. “But I understand the question. I just don’t have that.”
The moment came as new footage from a Brazilian podcast interview revealed that Mr Santos claimed to have been the target of an assassination plot and to have been robbed on Fifth Avenue.
The congressman, who has been caught in a number of lies, including falsifying his resume, told the Brazilian podcast Radio Novela Apresenta on 7 December that his home was vandalised in January 2021 because he’s a Republican.
“I’m going to a New Year’s Eve party with my husband. We go back to our house, it was vandalised because we were at a Republican party in Florida in December 2020,” Mr Santos says in a clip published by The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.
“So that’s it. I’ve experienced vandalism,” he adds, according to the translation. “We have already suffered an attempt on my life, an assassination attempt, a threatening letter, having to have the police, a police escort standing in front of our house.”
Mr Santos went on to claim that in the summer of 2021, he was robbed on Fifth Avenue.
“I was mugged by two men. Before asking any questions, they weren’t Black, they were even white, but they robbed me, took my briefcase, took my shoes, and my watch. And that was in broad daylight. It was 3pm I was leaving my office, going to the garage, getting my car, and I was mugged,” he says in the footage.
“They stole your shoes in the middle of Fifth Avenue?” interviewer João Batista Jr asks.
“In the middle of Fifth Avenue,” Mr Santos responds. “And that wasn’t the worst of it. Nobody did anything, nobody did anything. The fear is real. It’s surreal what we live through here.”
The Independent has reached out to the office of Mr Santos for comment.