Disgraced Republican Congressmember George Santos is facing fresh criticism for feeding into the GOP’s “groomer” rhetoric after pictures purportedly showing him in drag surfaced on social media on January 18.
Instagram user Eula Rochard posted a photo showing a person who appears to be Santos wearing drag under the name Kitara Ravache. Rochard added a caption in Portuguese that translated, in part, to “here’s the proof for those who called me a liar.” Santos “wouldn’t leave my house,” Rochard wrote.
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Rochard became friends with Santos in 2005 at a Pride event in the Rio suburb of Niteroi, according to Reuters, which also interviewed a separate unnamed individual who claimed to know Santos. In 2008, Rochard said Santos competed in drag during a beauty pageant.
Santos has peddled wide-ranging lies about his background but has rarely responded to the ongoing trail of reporting about him in the aftermath of explosive stories in the North Shore Leader, the New York Times, and other media outlets. But he rushed to respond to the latest social media posts about the photos of him in drag.
“The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag Queen or ‘performed’ as a drag Queen is categorically false,” Santos wrote on Twitter. “The media continues to make outrageous claims about my life while I am working to deliver results. I will not be distracted nor fazed by this.”
Meanwhile, Santos has echoed the GOP’s offensive rhetoric about the LGBTQ community at a time when drag story hour has been used as a target to peddle false myths that LGBTQ people are “groomers.” Republican New York City Councilmember Vickie Paladino of Queens, for example, has equated drag story hour with “grooming” in several Twitter posts over the last year.
When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pushed forward his state’s “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill barring classroom instruction on LGBTQ issues, Santos went on a Twitter tirade in defense of the law and described it as a way “to protect values and the innocence of children.”
“The left is hellbent on creating a false narrative because they want to groom our kids,” Santos said.
The latest photos have drawn widespread attention on social media. Drag artist Marti Cummings, who ran for City Council in Manhattan in 2021, re-posted a photo of Santos in drag and wrote “[email protected]👀” in a tweet.
New York’s only other out gay member of Congress, Democrat Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, has been one of Santos’ most outspoken critics and has demanded his resignation. Torres introduced a bill called the SANTOS Act intended to punish candidates who lie to voters about their background, and he has raised questions about why Santos has used different names in the past, including Anthony Devolder.
“George Santos is a man of multiple personalities,” Torres wrote on January 18. “-Kitara the drag queen. -George Santos the politician. -George Devolder the businessman. -Anthony Devolder the MAGA LGBTQ activist. -George or Anthony Zabrovsky the Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors.”