Freshman Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s claim of having Jewish heritage was called into question in a Washington Post report published Friday, which also cast doubt on other aspects of the Florida Republican’s supposed backstory.
Luna described herself in an interview with Jewish Insider last year as being “a small fraction Ashkenazi,” referring to the Jewish diaspora. She was speaking at the time in defense of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has faced accusations of antisemitism. Luna said in the interview that she identifies as a Christian but that her late father, George Mayerhofer, raised her as a Messianic Jew, a faith that recognizes Jesus as the Messiah.
The Washington Post, however, found several paternal relatives who did not recall Mayerhofer practicing any Jewish customs. The relatives said Mayerhofer was in fact Catholic.
The family members also said that Luna’s paternal grandfather, Heinrich Mayerhofer, served as a Nazi soldier in World War II ― albeit a reluctant one, according to the Post, which also cited an immigration record that identified the grandfather as a Roman Catholic.
The Post’s investigation brings to mind the controversy around another newly minted Republican lawmaker, Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who infamously said he never claimed to be Jewish but rather “Jew-ish.”
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) is seen on Jan. 27.
The Post also noted that Luna only recently decided to embrace her Hispanic heritage. The congresswoman’s maternal lineage is Mexican-American, and her paternal grandmother was born in Hidalgo, Mexico. However, the Post reported that for the majority of her life, Luna used the surname Mayerhofer.
Luna’s mother vouched for her daughter’s stories about her upbringing. But the extended family members who spoke to the Post largely disputed Luna’s claims that she was raised poor and isolated.
The newspaper also reported that Luna’s version of a story about a traumatizing home invasion, which she has said led her to support more lenient gun control laws, could not be backed up by police records or corroborated by a former roommate.
For more,head to The Washington Post.
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