MAGA Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna Claimed Jewish Heritage. Her Family Says That’s Not True.
A new report says the congresswoman doesn’t have Jewish roots and her grandfather served in the Nazi army. She also appears to have embellished other parts of her biography.
Florida Representative Anna Paulina Luna may have fabricated her Jewish heritage, according to a new report by The Washington Post.
The freshman MAGA Republican seems to inhabit a space usually reserved for serial fabulist George Santos. In addition to potentially lying about her religious background, Luna appears to have embellished other parts of her personal history.
Luna is Mexican on her mother’s side and Mexican and German on her father’s side. She has repeatedly said while campaigning and in an interview with Jewish Insider that she has Ashkenazi roots and her father was a Messianic Jew, or a Jewish person who believes Jesus was the Messiah. But several family members told the Post that not only did Luna’s father have no ties to Judaism but his father served in the Nazi army in Germany as a young man.
Messianic Judaism is an offshoot of Protestant Christianity, not Judaism. Jews believe that Jesus was not the Messiah, and most denominations do not recognize Messianic Judaism as actual Judaism. Some of Luna’s family members told the Post that both her father and grandfather were Catholic.
Luna’s claim that she was “raised as a Messianic Jew by her father” directly contradicts another refrain of hers: that her mother raised her alone with “no family to rely on.” Other family members have also said that Luna was always with them and supported by an extended family network growing up.
Luna served in the Air Force from 2009 to 2014, during which time the people who knew her described her as apolitical or even liberal. She expressed support for Barack Obama and said her heritage was Middle Eastern, Jewish, or Eastern European.
In 2015, she registered to vote in Florida and checked her race as “White, not of Hispanic origin.” That same year, she filed a petition in Washington state to change her last name to Luna, her mother’s family name, from Mayerhofer.
She joined the conservative group Turning Point USA in 2018, working for less than a year as their Hispanic engagement director. When she launched her campaign for Congress, she had fully embraced her Hispanic heritage, even changing the pronunciation of her first name to “Ah-na” from “Ann-a,” which surprised some of her friends and family members.
Luna has also talked about experiencing a “home invasion” in 2019, when her landlord broke into her apartment in the middle of the night. She links this to her support for gun ownership.
Her roommate from the time disputes this story, saying their apartment was broken into multiple times during the day, when neither of them was home. Nothing was taken, and they never figured out who did it.
There is one thing Luna has said about herself that definitely appears to be true: “I’m able to take on different personalities depending on what image I am going for,” she told the Canadian magazine Skyn in 2017. “I think getting into [the] character of what you are selling is super important.”