Levin Report: In Claiming Jewish Heritage, Florida Congresswoman Forgot to Mention Her Nazi Grandfather
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Since it first came out last December that newly elected lawmaker George Santos had lied about roughly 99% of his biography, fresh falsehoods and cons involving the New York congressman have emerged on a near-daily, sometimes hourly basis. (The latest? That he apparently fabricated an entire exchange with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and was charged with theft in 2017 after someone wrote about $15,000 worth of bad checks in his name to a bunch of dog breeders. While the charge was dropped and the case was expunged, the lawyer who represented him now says she believes he did it.) Given the pace with which these revelations have unfolded, and the sheer volume of lies, it seems unlikely at this time that any of Santos’s Republican colleagues will be able to outdo him when it comes to apparently never telling the truth about anything. But at least one is trying!
We speak, of course, of Representative Anna Paulina Luna, who was the subject of a Washington Post exposé that suggested the 33-year-old Florida lawmaker has played it fast and loose with the facts concerning her background. For instance, claiming to both have Jewish heritage and to have been raised as a Jew, despite people familiar with the matter saying that was not the case.
Per the Post:
Luna also stated on the campaign trail and in an interview with Jewish Insider in November that while she identifies as Christian, she was “raised as a Messianic Jew by her father.” Messianic Jews identify as Jewish and say they believe that Jesus is the Messiah. “I am also a small fraction Ashkenazi,” she added, referring to Jews whose ancestors lived in Central or Eastern Europe. Luna’s mother said her father was a “Christian that embraced the Messianic faith.”
“He eventually got clean and started attending a messianic Jewish church in Orange County. He brought Anna to services and she buried him to Jewish customs,” Monica Luna wrote in a text.
However, three members of Luna’s extended family said that her father was Catholic, and that they were not aware of him practicing any form of Judaism while Luna was growing up. George Mayerhofer’s father, Heinrich Mayerhofer, immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1954 and identified as Roman Catholic, according to an immigration record reviewed by the Post.
Another strange thing about Luna‘s claims re: Judaism? The bit about her grandfather having reportedly been a Nazi. Here’s the Post again:
According to several family members, Heinrich Mayerhofer, who died in 2003, served in the armed forces of Nazi Germany when he was a teenager in the 1940s. One of his sons, Edward Mayerhofer—Luna’s uncle—provided the Post what he said was a portrait of Heinrich Mayerhofer dressed in a uniform as a young soldier in Germany. Experts from the Simon Wiesenthal Center who reviewed the photo confirmed the uniform was consistent with that of a member of the Wehrmacht, which was the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
Edward’s wife, Jolanta Mayerhofer, and daughter, Nicole Mayerhofer, both confirmed to the Post that Luna’s grandfather had fought for the Nazis. (According Nicole Mayerhofer, her relationship with Luna went south after her father “publicly raised inconsistencies in Luna’s biography on social media during her first bid for Congress,” which Luna responded to by filing a stalking injunction against him, according to the Post.)
Of the many lies Santos has told, one of them involves passing himself off as Jewish and having grandparents who fled the Holocaust. (The New York lawmaker has insisted he never said he was Jewish but simply “Jew-ish.”)
Other inconsistencies raised by the Post article about Luna include a story about a home invasion that her roommate at the time says was a break-in when Luna wasn’t home; conflicting accounts about whether her father did time in prison; and the circumstances of her upbringing, which family members say was not the impoverished and isolated one Luna has claimed.
The congresswoman‘s office did not answer a detailed list of questions posed by the Post; her communications director emailed the outlet saying the questions were “bizarre,” adding, “Our office will not be responding to you any further.” On Twitter on Friday, Luna insisted that aspects of the Post story are not accurate (she does not appear to have specifically responded to the reporting about her grandfather and her supposed upbringing—and heritage—as a Jew).
Missouri Republicans vote to affirm toddlers’ right to carry firearms on the streets
In the year 2023, no one expects Republicans to have a reasonable take on gun violence (like that it’s a problem), or to do something about it (like pass meaningful gun control legislation). Still, you might think that conservatives wouldn’t be so thoroughly detached from reality that they would approve of—nay, fight for the rights of—small children being able to openly carry firearms in public places. Because that would just be, to use an official legislative term, f–king insane. Can you guess where we’re going with this?
In a turn of events that absolutely defies logic, the Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to reject an amendment that would have banned minors from being allowed to openly carry guns on public land without adult supervision. Which, thanks to a 2017 law, they are currently free to do. (That law, which was vetoed by then governor Jay Nixon and overridden by the Missouri House, also allows Missouri residents to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, safety training, or criminal-background check. As Sgt. Charles Wall, spokesman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “under current state law, there is no minimum age to lawfully possess a firearm.”) To be clear: The proposal rejected this week was not seeking to ban minors from openly carrying weapons on public land, period, but simply from doing so without an adult supervising them. But apparently even that was too much for the state’s conservatives, who quite literally believe it’s fine for actual kids to walk down the street carrying guns. The proposal was defeated by 104-39, with just a single Republican voting in favor of the ban.
State representative Donna Baringer, a Democrat who represents St. Louis, said she decided to sponsor the amendment after police in her district asked for stronger regulations to stop “14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s.” With the proposal officially blocked, said 14-year-olds, and kids half their age and younger, “have been emboldened [to carry AR-15s], and they are walking around with them,” she said. Representative Lane Roberts, apparently the only Republican with any sense in the Missouri House of Representatives, had said prior to the vote: “This is about people who don’t have the life experience to make a decision about the consequences of having that gun in their possession. Why is an 8-year-old carrying a sidearm in the street?”
A great question! And one that his fellow GOP lawmakers obviously did not have any good answers for because if you’re a sane person, there is none. In a ridiculous attempt to justify that scenario, Republican state representative Bill Hardwick argued that he “just [has] a different approach for addressing public safety that doesn’t deprive people, who have done nothing to any other person, who will commit no violence, from their freedom.” As a reminder the people Hardwick is arguing must have the freedom to carry firearms on their person, are children, some of whom cannot even buy a ticket for a PG-13 movie.
In a bit of equally absurd “logic,” state representative Tony Lovasco told The Washington Post: “Government should prohibit acts that directly cause measurable harm to others, not activities we simply suspect might escalate. Few would support banning unaccompanied kids in public places, yet one could argue such a bad policy might be effective.” Right, yes, except one small thing: A kid hanging out in public without an adult is a much smaller risk to themself and others than a kid hanging out in public without an adult and carrying a gun. Someone—not us of course, definitely not us, but someone—might suggest this is the argument of a total moron.
Of course, all of this is happening less than a month after news of a Virginia six-year-old shooting their teacher and a viral surveillance video from Indiana that captured a diaper-wearing toddler carrying a handgun and firing it.
Meanwhile, as state representative Peter Merideth noted, conservative lawmakers in the state who think kids bearing arms is fine and dandy, are currently trying to pass a bill that would make drag performances on public property or seen by minors class A misdemeanors. “Kids carrying guns on the street or in a park is a matter of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Kids seeing a drag queen read a children’s book or sing a song is a danger the government must ban,” Merideth tweeted. “Do I have that right MO GOP?”
As a reminder, Republicans recently formed a committee to investigate the “weaponization” of the federal government
Note: George Santos was 12 in 2001 (assuming he’s telling the truth about being 34, which, given who we’re talking about, is obviously a big assumption)
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