Insider interviewed Rep. George Santos’ 24-year-old publicist Gabrielle Lipsky. His job is to field calls from members of the public who are furious with Santos’ lies. The outraged lawmaker is facing calls to resign, but Lipsky still thinks he’s a “borderline genius”. Something is loading.
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Many of us think our job is difficult. Compared to Gabrielle Lipsky, the 24-year-old press secretary for embattled Congressman George Santos, we probably have it easy.
“Generally, I would describe my normal day as pinball,” Lipsky said during an interview with Insider. “It’s pulling me all over the place.”
Being a congressman’s press secretary always involved long hours, challenging work, and a lot of stress.
But for Lipsky, who potentially represents the most outrageous freshman congressman in generations, days have passed fielding countless requests for comment on the latest lie Santos has been caught in, or calls from angry voters demanding his resignation.
That’s a lot to ask.
When Santos was elected to represent New York’s third congressional district last November, Lipsky came with him from his campaign team.
Lipsky isn’t just doing the duties of a publicist; she also acts as the office manager, occasionally acts as a liaison, and almost always manages the office phones.
Although it’s often voters or reporters who call the office, she said she regularly receives a barrage of irate calls from people across the US, with many relaying their anger that Santos has yet to step down. .
“It’s a lot,” she said. “They curse us, they threaten us. There are so many times people ask me, ‘How could you work for someone like that?'”
When asked how to answer this question, Lipsky chooses his words carefully. She explains that she primarily serves NY-3 voters, which involves working for Santos.
“At the end of the day, the congressman has a job to do and he needs people to help him do it,” she said. “Somebody has to do it.”
While no day is the same for Lipsky, she says it normally starts with compiling press clippings for Santos.
Some relate to events in New York’s Third District or national developments, but Lipsky must also sift through the many reports of Santos’ questionable financial disclosures, lies and investigations into his behavior.
Passing it on to Santos, she said she was trying to approach it without any emotion: “It’s just about being very pragmatic.”
Lipsky is new to Capitol Hill and has followed an unconventional path to politics, earning only a degree in psychological and criminal justice from the private Adelphi University in New York in 2020.
She worked for a time in a bank and for a few months in a public relations firm – where Santos was one of the clients. Impressed with her work there, he invited her to join his campaign in April last year.
(Documents filed by the FEC show that Lipsky began being paid for press advice in May 2022.)
Lipsky’s age and inexperience led to accusations of nepotism on social media. Her father, David Lipsky, donated more than $8,000 to the Santos campaign in December 2021 – about five months before his daughter joined the team.
His mother, Casey Lipsky, also donated $5,800 on the same day and donated another $1,450 in August 2022.
“It’s no secret that my parents are donors to many members of the Republican Party, like many thousands of other freedom-loving Americans,” Lipsky said, adding that his parents are “very hardworking” people. who want to make a difference.
“They know how important politics is to me and to the future of New York State, and out of love and support for me, they assist candidates and are political advocates in every way possible.”
Lipsky says his Auschwitz survivor grandmother, Eva Lipsky, also knows Santos and “loves” him.
The congressman referenced the 93-year-old when he delivered a speech on the floor of the House marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in late January.
Lipsky said she was touched by the tribute to her grandmother and was moved to tears.
The tribute, however, was quickly dismissed as a political play, given earlier revelations that Santos was not Jewish, as he previously claimed, and that his grandparents were not Jewish. Holocaust survivors, which he also said.
Asked about it, and whether it had made the House speech insincere, Lipsky stumbled to find his words.
“When the speculation started, of course, I raised an eyebrow. I was like, ‘Okay, well, that’s weird,'” she said. “At the same time, if it was, these were real stories told by his family – he wouldn’t question it. I wouldn’t question it. Who would?”
It’s not just the angry callers Lipsky has to deal with. She says the Santos team also got a chilly reception in the halls of Congress.
“I see the looks we get in the hallway, the selfies taken outside the office, and I know people think the staff are radioactive,” she said.
Despite all that, Lipsky says working for Santos, who she says is a “borderline genius,” is an invaluable learning experience.
“I like to call it the ‘perfect storm’ because we’re setting up a freshman office right in the middle of it all,” she says. “It’s basically a crash course in rapid fire for me.”
She adds, “At the end of the day, every single person who works in this office will come out of it battle-tested.”