Embattled Queens Congressman George Santos announced Monday that he will bring 9/11 ground zero volunteer Michael Weinstock to President Biden’s State of the Union on Tuesday as his guest. In addition to serving as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, Weinstock was a former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn’s Special Victims Bureau.
Shortly after arriving at the World Trade Center on 9/11 to try and rescue civilians trapped in the towers, Weinstock began unloading medical equipment when he felt the ground start to shake. It was then that the South Tower began to collapse. He went to a nearby building for shelter as it came crashing down.
Weinstock spent the days following the tragedy working to clear the rubble at ground zero and search for survivors as part of the “bucket brigade.” The dust toxins he breathed in throughout this process eventually led him to be diagnosed in 2016 with neuropathy, a painful neurological condition. Despite his work at Ground Zero supposedly contributing to Weinstock’s diagnosis, the condition isn’t covered under the World Trade Center Health Program.
“I am grateful for Michael to join me as my guest, but also united in our quest to address the issue of the World Trade Center Health Program to cover neuropathy for the men and women who suffer as a result from the dust that came from the World Trade Center,” Santos said. “Michael’s story is one of heroism, but also one as a survivor who is advocating not just for himself but for fellow firefighters and medical emergency responders.”
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Among the plethora of controversies and lies Santos has been caught in is his claim that his mother had been in one of the towers on 9/11. He had initially said that his mother was a 9/11 victim before claiming she survived the ordeal but was diagnosed years later with cancer that ended up killing her due to inhaling too much toxic dust. However, The New York Times revealed that her immigration history shows she was not in the United States at the time that 9/11 occurred.
Weinstock had previously run for the Democratic nomination for Congress in Santos’ district back in 2020. He placed third in the primaries, receiving 4,284 votes. Tom Suozzi ultimately emerged as the winner of the Democratic nomination and ended up beating Santos in the general election.
“It is an honor to attend President Biden’s State of the Union, and I am greatly appreciative that Congressman Santos invited me as his guest,” Weinstock said. “I have traveled to Washington to bring attention to firefighters with neuropathy. This is an issue that transcends politics and speaks to my heart. I am a proud Democrat, and Congressman Santos is equally proud to be a member of the GOP. Tonight, however, we speak with a unified voice and we encourage the World Trade Center Health Program to include neuropathy as a covered condition.”
According to The New York Times, Weinstock cited his reasoning for accepting the invite as an opportunity to help raise awareness for other firefighters and ground zero workers who are suffering like him from inhaling the dust toxins. While his purpose is to garner himself and others coverage from the World Trade Center Health Program, Weinstock has already faced the consequences just from being associated with Santos. He said he had been let go from his law firm last week for accepting the invitation from Santos to attend the State of the Union.