George Santos Wiki, Biography
Congressman-elect George Santos came under fire once again after he appeared to display a symbol of white power in the House of Representatives as he cast his 10th vote to elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House on Thursday.
Several images and C-span footage from the House showed the politician spreading his arms to reveal a sideways “OK gesture” on his left hand. Santos was previously seen standing in the hallway of the chamber with his arms crossed and a smile on his face.
When the clerk called out to him during the vote, the representative-elect held up his right hand to reveal the gesture of his other hand before calling out McCarthy’s name and turning quickly to walk to the back of the room.
The “ok” side sign has long been associated with white supremacists and has been called a symbol of white power by the Anti-Defamation League. As photos and videos of Santos surfaced online, Harvard Law School’s Cyber Law Clinic instructor Alejandra Caraballo took to Twitter to point out her use of the gesture.
She referred to George Santos as “the guy who lied about everything” and alleged that he was a white supremacist who “shined the white power hand symbol on the floor of the house”:
Several social media users have also called the congressman-elect a “racist” in the wake of the incident:
George Santos has continued to keep a low profile since the controversy over his fake CV was revealed.
The politician landed in hot water last month after it was revealed that he lied about key information listed on his resume, including his education, financial background, assets, professional history and inheritance, among other things.
A look at the controversial symbol of white power
The “ok” hand symbol, commonly known as a gesture to indicate well-being, has also been defined as a symbol of hate depending on the context.
According to The New York Post, white supremacists began using the gesture in 2017 and it was later added to the Anti-Defamation League’s “Hate on Display” database in 2019. The database included 36 symbols, including the hand gesture. “okay”.
The organization noted that the index finger to thumb sign, especially when worn sideways, was associated with white supremacy and the far right.
Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, told NPR at the time that the “ok” sign has been used in memes and hate images for several years on online message boards like 4chan and 8chan:
“Context is always key. Most people will use the OK symbol simply as ‘OK’. But in those cases where there’s more underlined meaning, I think it’s important that people understand that it could be used, and is being used, for hate as well.”
According to Know Your Meme, in 2017, 4chan users first launched a prank campaign and decided to flood social media with content linking the “ok” hand sign to the white power movement.
The gesture reportedly gained notoriety as a hate symbol after New Zealand mass shooter and white supremacist Brenton Tarrant displayed the sign in court. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the three fingers and the circle formed by the index and thumb represent “W” and “P,” which stands for “white power.”
Netizens React to George Santos Making White Power Symbol at House Chambers
George Santos has continued to make headlines ever since he admitted to lying about his education, professional background and financial assets on his resume. The congressman-elect also came under scrutiny for confusing comments about his inheritance.
Although he identified himself as a “proud American Jew” in his campaign letter, Santos later said that he was raised Catholic and not an observant Jew. However, he maintains that he has always identified as Jewish and often jokes with his friends about being “Jewish.”
Most recently, George Santos landed in the middle of yet another controversy after making a white power symbol with his hands in the House of Representatives while voting for Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House.
As a result of the incident, several users of social networks took to Twitter to react to Santos’s gesture: As the online reactions continue, it remains to be seen if George Santos will address the white power controversy in the coming days and explain his reasoning behind his use of the symbol.