Santos denies reports he performed as drag queen in Brazil
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., is denying that he has ever performed as a drag queen after reports emerged that the newly elected congressman years ago competed in Brazilian beauty pageants under the drag name Kitara.
"The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag Queen or 'performed' as a drag Queen is categorically false," Santos tweeted Thursday morning. "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."
According to a report Wednesday by freelance reporter Marisa Kabas, Santos befriended a Brazilian drag queen named Eula Rochard in Niterói some 15 years ago, when he was living in nearby Rio de Janeiro. Rochard told Kabas that Santos competed under the name Kitara and shared photos that Rochard said showed the two of them dressed in drag at a pride parade in 2008.
"George always lied about everything. He used to create stories, usually involving money - like that his dad was rich," Rochard told Kabas.
Reuters also reported Wednesday that it had spoken with Rochard and another of Santos's acquaintances in Brazil, who both said the congressman used to perform as a drag queen there.
The reports drew charges of hypocrisy against Santos, who is openly gay but has spoken out in support of anti-LGBTQ legislation and aligned himself with GOP figures who spout violent rhetoric against transgender people and drag shows.
But they were also merely the latest in a mounting series of news stories that have called into question details about the freshman congressman's biography, education, business background and campaign finance expenditures. As The Washington Post reported last month, scores of Santos's claims about his life have turned out to be false:
"He said he is part Black. He said he is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. He claimed he helped develop 'carbon capture technology.' He claimed to have worked at companies that never employed him. He claimed to be a graduate of two universities, only to admit that he has no college degree at all. He even said his parents' financial hardship forced him to leave the prestigious Horace Mann School in the Bronx 'months' before he could graduate. But that claim and numerous others have either been shown to be false or lacking evidence by The Washington Post and other news organizations."
Santos, who was elected in November, has faced calls to step down from Democrats and Republicans - including from the New York delegation - for fabricating many details about his life, including that his mother was at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Immigration records showed she wasn't in the country.
Santos admitted to lying about his education and work history, but questions remain about the source of his wealth, which he used to help fund his campaign. This month, a nonpartisan watchdog group filed a complaint to the Federal Election Commission about Santos's campaign financing.
The Post has also reported that Santos claimed the cousin of a Russian oligarch as a client.
Santos has resisted calls for him to resign, as has House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who said Santos was legally elected and seated without objection. House Republicans assigned Santos to two House committees Tuesday.