Drag artist remembers George Santos as left-wing supporter of Lula in Brazil

Drag artist remembers George Santos as left-wing supporter of Lula in Brazil

  • Embattled Rep. George Santos campaigned as an ultra-conservative.
  • A drag performer who knew him in the mid-2000s told Insider that Santos supported Brazil’s leftist president then.
  • Santos now faces scrutiny from multiple fabrications about his past.

A Brazilian drag performer who says she knew George Santos when he dressed in drag in Brazil remembers the congresswoman during his younger years as a supporter of the country’s progressive president, not an ultra-conservative politician that he says is now.

Artist Eula Rochard has made headlines for circulating a photo that she says depicts Santos wearing a red dress.

But in an interview with Insider, she said what baffles her is how Santos went from supporting leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as “Lula,” to his current political incarnation.

Rochard said Santos supported Lula and then “goes to the States and turns into this crazy thing there. How crazy is that?”

Santos, who represents parts of Queens and Long Island, is now kissing former President Donald Trump and policies seen as anti-LGBTQ. He accused the left of trying to “married” childrena conservative talking point equating discussion of gender and sexuality with initiating sexual abuse.

But in the mid-2000s, Rochard backed a Brazilian president who an expert said had more in common, at least on economic policy, with the progressive policies of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Rochard said many gay people living in the city of Niterói at the time supported Lula, a left-wing reformer who served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and who was just re-elected for a third term, from that this month.

“Lula promised to make laws to help us gay people. They were all Lulistas and Anthony too because he was hanging out with us,” Rochard told Insider, using the name Rochard says Santos used in Brazil, “Anthony”.

Drag artist Eula Rochard

Brazilian drag performer Eula Rochard keeps a diary from 2008 that she says shows GOP Rep. George Santos in drag gear.

Insider screenshot.

It’s no surprise that Santos, as a gay man, supported Lula in the 2000s, said Rafael Ioris, professor of Latin American history at the University of Denver. Lula represented the chance to expand civil rights for minority groups in Brazil, and most members of the LGBTQ community were aligned with that perspective, he said.

It’s hard to imagine a member of today’s Republican Party in the United States aligning himself with Lula, even if he became more moderate while in office. Lula is a former trade unionist who built his political career on policies similar to those of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party: a higher minimum wage and more spending on health care and education.

Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted his congratulations to Lula in October when he defeated far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, whose supporters this month stormed government buildingsrefusing to accept the results.

“It’s quite a dramatic change,” Ioris said of Santos. People change, he says, but “how did that happen?”

It’s one of many questions swirling around Santos, who is at the center of a scandal over lies on his resume, falsely claiming his mother died on 9/11 and unexplained wealth that helped fund his candidacy for Congress.

Freelance journalist Marisa Kabas broke the story in a Sub-stack message about Santos dressed in drag as Kitara in the mid-2000s. Rochard also told Kabas that Santos’ friends in Brazil were on the left.

Santos, whose staff did not respond to a request for comment, at first denied having acted as a drag queen but later told reporters, “I was young and had fun at a festival. Sue me for a life.” Other videos have since emerged, suggesting that this was more than a unique case.

Rochard met Santos when he was around 17 and said she used to catch Santos in “little white lies”. She said he wanted to be famous “no matter what”.

“He wasn’t a bad person,” Rochard said. “He was an ordinary gay teenager in a country where there were no laws protecting homosexuals.”

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