A gay Republican who said Trump was 'at his full awesomeness' on January 6 is headed to Congress

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  • George Santos is set to become the only openly gay sitting Republican member of Congress.

  • He competed in a historic election against another gay candidate, Democrat Robert Zimmerman.

  • Santos, who has ties to the events of Jan 6, will join a caucus that's still largely opposed to LGBTQ rights.

George Santos is set to become the only openly gay Republican in Congress after Democratic candidate Robert Zimmerman conceded early Wednesday morning in a closely-watched race in New York's 3rd congressional district.

The Long Island election itself was historic, as it was the first time two openly LGBTQ candidates nominated by major parties competed in a general election for federal office.

Santos will also be only the third openly gay Republican member of Congress, following former Reps. Jim Kolbe of Arizona and Steve Gunderson of Illinois. He is the first Republican to be openly gay at the time of his election.

But Santos, a 34-year-old investment banker, isn't exactly a moderate.

After losing a congressional bid in 2020, he traveled to Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, to attend President Donald Trump's speech, during which Trump claimed he'd won the 2020 election "by a landslide" and told his loyalists to "fight like hell" to overturn the results.

"I was at the Ellipse on January 6," said Santos during a February 2021 appearance on "The Right View" hosted by Lara Trump. "That was the most amazing crowd, and the president was at his full awesomeness that day."

Santos went on to call January 6 a "sad and dark day," and has said he was "never on Capitol grounds" that day. But he was later caught on camera by a Democratic activist saying that he had cut a "nice check to a law firm" to get people arrested in DC on January 6 out of jail.

"Don't want to publicize it, but pretty adamant about that," he said during the video. "Imagine breaking into your own house and being charged for trespassing."


His election also comes during a year that's seen a marked rise in anti-LGBTQ sentiment on the right.

That's included the passage of the Parental Rights in Education Act in Florida — dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by critics — as well as the declaration by the Texas GOP that homosexuality represents an "abnormal lifestyle choice," the rise of "groomer" as an insult on the right, and a host of state-level legislation taking aim at transgender youth.

At the same time, Republicans have shown an increasing openness to same-sex marriage. 47 House Republicans voted to codify same-sex marriage into law in July, and several Senate Republicans have come out in support of it as well.

Nonetheless, most members of the House Republican Conference voted against enshrining the right to same-sex marriage into law. But he's shrugged off the notion that same-sex marriage needs to be codified at all, minimizing the significance of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion in the Dobbs case, in which the conservative justice suggested the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide should be reconsidered.

"He had an unfortunate moment in a dissenting opinion that the majority did not sign on," Santos told the Washington Blade. "Clearly, that's why it has no legal value. It's nothing more than a legal essay. A legal essay written by a Supreme Court justice with — I'm just going to go out on a limb and say not the brightest moment in his career."

And Santos has outright defended anti-LGBTQ measures pushed by Republicans.

"As a gay man, I stand proudly behind not teaching our children sex or sexual orientation," he said in a Facebook video in April, referring to the Florida law. "That's incumbent on the parents, not educators."

Florida's Parental Rights in Education Act forbids classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for third graders and younger; critics say the law is intended to target LGBTQ people, chilling their ability to express themselves.

"DeSantis, you have my full-blown support, and I support your decision to protect our children's innocence," he said. "I stand proudly behind the Florida legislature for putting a decent bill that will protect values."


Read the original article on Business Insider