Santos’ ‘groomer’ rhetoric highlights hypocrisy

George Santos
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., departs Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The revelations of photos showing George Santos in drag prompted a wave of news stories pointing out that the latest developments represented yet another chapter in the freshman lawmaker’s never-ending trail of lies about his background and identity.

But perhaps the biggest takeaway was the juxtaposition between those photos and a video Santos posted in 2022 when he hurled the same slur other Republicans have used to falsely brand drag artists and the broader LGBTQ community as pedophiles.

In a video defending Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law barring classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, Santos — who represents parts of Queens and Long Island — said the law would “protect values and the innocence of children” and that “the left is hellbent on creating a false narrative because they want to groom our kids.”

After the drag photos surfaced, Santos took to Twitter to respond.

“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.

Santos’ hypocrisy doesn’t end there, though. During his campaign, he established ties with Republican City Councilmember Vickie Paladino, who has been the leading voice against drag story hour in New York City. Paladino threatened to pull funding from schools participating in drag story hour last year and said progressives “may have no problem with child grooming and sexualization, but I do.”

Paladino, for what it’s worth, said earlier this month that she believes Santos should keep his seat. He doesn’t care that he is perpetuating dangerous rhetoric that has been used to attack members of the LGBTQ community for years — now more than four decades since Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign in the late 1970s famously used children as props in her war on the LGBTQ community in southern Florida.

But it’s all fun and games for Santos.

“I was young and I had fun at a festival,” he said when reporters caught him at an airport over the weekend. “Sue me for having a life.”

Yes, he was young and he had fun at a festival. But the problem is that he rose to Congress on a foundation of lies and hypocrisy, and now he’s representing a party that is leading a nationwide fight against LGBTQ rights.

At least one thing is for sure: Santos’ days in office are numbered. Here’s to hoping his successor does the bare minimum to stand up to hate.