A Brazilian drag artist who knew George Santos when he lived in the country revealed more about the congressman’s political past in a new interview with Insider.
Eula Rochard explained in her latest interview that Mr Santos had once been a proud supporter of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — the current president of Brazil, who recently returned to office after successfully battling corruption charges he and his supporters argued were politically motivated.
His support for the president, who is best known by the moniker Lula, was centred around the latter’s support for LGBT rights, according to Ms Rochard.
“Lula promised to make laws to help us gays. They were all Lulistas and Anthony was too because he hung out with us,” said Ms Rochard, referring to the congressman by one of the names he used to go by.
“He wasn’t a bad person,” Ms Rochard added of Mr Santos when he lived in Brazil. “He was a regular gay teenager in a country where there were no laws protecting gay people.”
Speaking to the news outlet, Ms Rochard implied that Mr Santos had undergone an ideological shift after moving to the US and becoming enraptured by the Donald Trump phenomenon.
Mr Santos ran for Congress twice, first unsuccessfully in 2020. That run resulted in him claiming (falsely) that his election had been tainted by fraud; he would later join at least one “Stop the Steal”-themed rally in support of Mr Trump’s own falsehoods about the 2020 election ahead of January 6.
He “goes to the US and turns into this crazy thing there. What craziness is this?” Ms Rochard quipped to Insider.
Mr Santos initially attempted to deny his past as a drag performer before admitting to attending at least one festival in drag as a teenager. The episode is one of many areas of his background where the congressman has been caught red-handed after lying about some aspect of his past.
The support for Lula and his history as a drag performer would be politically insignificant were it not for the conservative right’s current fixation on drag shows, drag performers as well as all LGBT Americans; the backlash against those communities in recent months have been severe as right-wing figures have wantonly accused wide swaths of the LGBT community of “grooming” children for sexual exploitation.
That backlash has been blamed for the recent shooting at a gay club in Colorado; the suspected shooter is now facing hate crime charges.