After all of his endless lies and stunts, Santos making history as the first elected official in Congress to be ousted sans a criminal conviction should be a shameful moment. One would assume that following this embarrassment—and his current 23-count federal indictments that range from aggravated identity theft to wire fraud and money laundering—Santos would be laying low.
That isn’t the case, which is unsurprising given Santos’ shameless thirst for spotlight (and money). For $200, the public can pay the “former congressional icon” to send a personalized video clip through Cameo.
It would be reasonable to expect Santos’ Cameo account to receive a flood of orders—likely from people with disposable income interested in sending a “gag gift” of Santos saying something like “Happy birthday from your favorite expelled congressman” to a friend.
But some of Santos’ former colleagues are also paying him to mock his own controversy. And they shouldn’t be.
“Hey Bobby!” says Santos in the Cameo clip. “I don’t think I need to tell you, but these people who want to make you get in trouble and want to kick you out and make you run away, you make them put up or shut up. You stand your ground, sir, and don’t get bogged down by all the haters out there. Stay strong. Merry Christmas.”
Santos would later comment on Fetterman’s post of the video on X: “I love this! I wish I knew the Bobby in question! LOL.”
Not cool. Not cool at all.
Santos was an elected official who repeatedly lied to his constituents and has disgraced the role of what a public servant should be. His current indictments accuse him of stealing money from donors and misleading his colleagues. None of this is a laughing matter, and the fact that he has now found a way to cash in on his soiled reputation (read: grift) is disgusting.
But what’s even more infuriating is seeing respectable elected officials and public figures play into the mess. Fetterman, who won a competitive senate race treating his former opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz as a joke, appears hypocritical in participating in this mockery that only bolsters Santos’ ego.
And then there’s media personalities like the comedian and talk show host, Ziwe Fumudoh, who are entertaining his antics by offering to share their platforms with him.
Over the weekend, Ziwe tweeted, “@MrSantosNY would you be interested in a pay-per-view interview? you’d be an iconic guest,” to which Santos replied Sunday, “Let’s do it, @ziwe.”
Ziwe, who has garnered fame for her eponymously named Showtime late-night variety series, is known for interviewing controversial celebrities, activists, and media personalities such as Charlamagne Tha God, Deray Mckesson, and Chet Hanks—not indicted politicians. Her show is entertainment, not 60 Minutes. For Santos to try to transition from disgraced congressman to cultural laughing stock (who’s in on the joke, as long as he’s getting money and attention) is not only intellectually dishonest—but is everything wrong about our current political system. But Ziwe should know better, too.
Haven’t we been here before?
It was only a few years ago that a not-so-nice late night talk show host was patting the head of a now indicted former U.S. president on national TV while he ran a racist rhetoric-fueled campaign for the seat. To see how Democrats and other people on the left—who shamed the hell out of the right for defending and coddling Trump’s misconduct—now play alongside Santos is a huge disappointment.
Note to everyone: Stop trying to be cool on social media, and hold those with political power and influence accountable.
Our democracy is currently in shambles and joking alongside elected officials who are a part of such debauchery is a disservice to all. Playtime is over.