With all my heart I cherish the saga of George Santos (aka Anthony Devolder, aka Anthony Zabrovsky) because he’s the quintessential epitome of the MAGA freak show.
The bad news is he now sits on two House committees thanks to Kevin McCarthy, who needed his vote in order to become Speaker. The good news is hardly a day goes by without a fresh revelation about the fraud whom House Republicans have clutched to their bosoms.
The latest beaut is that Santos has been outed by people in Brazil who knew him as a drag queen who went by the name Kitara Revache, who aspired to be crowned Miss Gay Rio de Janeiro.
A Brazilian drag queen saw a photo of the Long Island congressman now known as George Santos and realized it was the same guy he knew as “Kitara” – more specifically, he knew the guy as “Anthony” using the stage name of Kitara – from a 2008 drag queen contest.
The drag queen who outed Santos now says, “He’s changed a lot, but he was always a liar.”
Let me be clear: The fact that Santos/Devolder/Zabrovsky/Kitara enjoyed being a drag queen is not the issue at hand. As the Seinfeld gang used to say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” If somebody wants to dress in drag, fine. I certainly don’t stand with the right-wing homophobic thugs who’ve been trying to shut down drag shows in various American venues – or with the MAGA demagogues who’ve latched onto the notion that drag queens are trying to “groom” innocent kids.
What’s at issue here is the fact that McCarthy and his House minions are totally fine not only with a guy who faked his entire resume, who got his campaign money from mysterious sources, who’s definitively linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, who’s the target of a Brazilian check fraud investigation, who said his mom died in the 9/11 attack when in fact she was not in America that day and died 15 years later, who allegedly stole money from a Navy veteran’s GoFundMe page for his dying dog... but who also paraded himself in public as precisely the kind of person he and his party openly detest.
It seems a tad contradictory that “Kitara” in his current guise is a hate-stoking conservative in the ginned-up culture wars. Santos supports Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law barring teachers from discussing gender identity in class and has mimicked MAGA rhetoric about how LGBTQ people, and drag queens in particular, abuse children by bending their minds.
So what’s the Republican response to all this? Because it seems a tad contradictory for a party that purports to champion Christian morals and targets drag queens as existential enemies to also be welcoming a drag queen into its club. If “groomers” are such a threat to western civilization, shouldn’t these self-appointed moralists be demanding that Santos resign? Conversely, if they’re truly OK with having Santos in the loop, doesn’t that expose their anti-drag crusade as fraudulent?
Naturally, they’ve been silent ever since the news broke about the adventures of “Kitara.” A spokesman for morality crusader Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’s “not getting involved in this media-created drama.” Kevin McCarthy, who has appointed Kitara to sit on two committees (Small Business and Science) has said zip, because what’s the guy going to say? He needs “Kitara’s” vote.
As Al Franken has observed, “There is tremendous hypocrisy among the Christian right.” And if memory serves, didn’t Democrats compel their colleague Franken to quit his Senate seat after an old photo showed him doing something juvenile?
How asymmetric it is that one party tries to police its ranks often to a fault, while the other party is so despicably shameless.
Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org