Rep. George Santos denies reports that he performed as a drag queen in Brazil

Rep. George Santos (RN.Y.) denies ever performing as a drag queen after reports surfaced that the newly elected congressman competed in Brazilian beauty pageants years ago under the drag name Kitara.

“The latest media obsession that I am a drag queen or ‘acted’ like a drag queen is categorically false,” Santos tweeted Thursday morning. “The media continues to make outrageous claims about my life as I work for results. This will not distract me or bewilder me.”

According to a report Wednesday by independent reporter Marisa Kabas, Santos befriended a Brazilian drag queen named Eula Rochard in Niterói about 15 years ago, when she lived in nearby Rio de Janeiro. Rochard told Kabas that Santos competed under the name Kitara and shared photos that Rochard said showed the two dressed in drag at a pride parade in 2008.

“George was always lying about everything. He used to create stories, usually related to money, like his father being rich,” Rochard told Kabas.

New York Republican George Santos, accused of fabricating details of his past, began his new job in Congress on January 3. (Video: Michael Cadenhead/The Washington Post)

Reuters also reported on Wednesday that it had spoken with Rochard and another acquaintance of Santos in Brazil, who said the congressman used to perform as a drag queen there.

The reports drew charges of hypocrisy against Santos, who is openly gay but spoke out in favor of anti-LGBTQ legislation and aligned with GOP figures spewing violent rhetoric against transgender people and drag performances.

But they were also just the latest in a growing stream of stories that have called into question details about the freshman congressman’s biography, education, business background and campaign finances. As The Washington Post reported last month, dozens of Santos’ claims about his life have turned out to be false:

He said it’s part black. He said that he is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. He claimed that he helped develop “carbon capture technology.” He claimed to have worked in companies that never hired him. He claimed to be a graduate of two universities, only to admit that he has no college degree. He even said his parents’ financial difficulties forced him to leave the prestigious Horace Mann School in the Bronx “months” before he could graduate. But The Washington Post and other news organizations have shown that claim and many others to be false or lacking in evidence.

Santos, who was elected in November, has faced calls for him to resign 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 September 11, 2001. Immigration records showed she was not in the country.

Santos has admitted to lying about his education and employment history, but questions remain about the source of his wealth, which he used to help finance his campaign. This month, a nonpartisan watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about the financing of Santos’s campaign.

The Post 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 sat without objection. House Republicans assigned Santos to two House committees on Tuesday.


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