Jesus Rodriguez is dedicated to his craft—so dedicated, in fact, that the journalist recently shadowed Rep. George Santos for more than 16 hours over two days, camping outside his DC office, following him around Capitol Hill, and reporting on everything that transpired in the process. In his "day-in-the-life profile" for Politico, Rodriguez says he logged 27,000 steps trying to keep up with "Congress' most scandal-plagued freshman," already well known for evading and walking briskly away from reporters who still have many questions for the New York Republican. Rodriguez covers the "panting" gaggle of journalists who chased Santos around, earning them a box of Dunkin' doughnuts and coffee from the congressman. There are also the varied reactions from other lawmakers to their new colleague—including Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, who stopped by to welcome him.
"We stayed away from the political and the policy," Beyer says. Not everyone has been as cordial, however. "I have zero respect for him," says Dem Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York, while GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told reporters Santos was "nutty as a fruitcake." As Rodriguez notes: "The political purgatory where this merchant of fables finds himself is an increasingly brutal place to inhabit." The "cheerfully defiant" Santos does answer a few questions from reporters: He reveals his favorite tune at the moment is Sam Smith's "Unholy" ("fun song!"), and that he prefers Pandora over Spotify. He also answers a question from Rodriguez himself on whether he's struck up any relationships with his new co-workers: "I have dogs. No friends." Read more from Rodriguez here, including his comparison of responses from Santos to a glazed doughnut: "nothingness surrounded by nutritional nothingness." (Read more George Santos stories.)