Robert Garcia with the photo of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump
Robert Garcia with the photo of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump (Photo: X)

Rep. Robert Garcia took to the floor of Congress yesterday to blast fellow lawmakers. The Republicans are trying to halt funding for drag performances on military bases.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) routinely passes with bipartisan support. It stipulates funding for the armed forces. However, House Republicans this year have tried to add a range of amendments that play into ongoing culture wars.

For example, a measure proposed by Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.), bans any spending on drag performances on military bases.

“The bulk of our fighting forces are inspired by GI Joe; they are not inspired by ‘be a Barbie girl in a Barbie world,’” said Brecheen as he introduced the amendment on the House floor.

“These gays, they’re trying to kill me”

Garcia, who is gay and represents a California district, gave an epic speech to protest the amendment. He utilized photo boards. One featured Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya in The White Lotus uttering her immortal line: “These gays, they’re trying to kill me”. Another photo was from an old video showing Donald Trump alongside Rudy Giuliani in drag.

“My Republican colleagues want us to believe that gays are trying to murder us,” Garcia said gesturing toward the photo of Coolidge.

“They want to believe that drag is harmful or immoral or wrong. This is completely ridiculous.”

“Now, I hate to break it to my Republican colleagues, but LGBTQ people have fought and died for this country since the American Revolution, even if they were forced to hide their true selves.

“The USO and Red Cross hosted drag shows during World War II — the army that defeated Hitler and saved the world included drag queens,” Garcia continued.

He went on to point out that Ronald Reagan starred in the 1943 movie, This Is The Army. It was about entertainment for the troops including drag performers.

“And he’s not the only Republican president who knew that drag can be fun and sometimes silly,” said Garcia, alongside the photo of Trump and Giuliani.

It comes from a video skit the two men made back in 2000. Giuliani was Mayor of New York City and the video was for the Mayor’s Inner Circle Press Roast that year.

“We know inclusion in our military is good for our country. We want to welcome anyone who wants to serve. I would invite my Republican colleagues to join me at a drag show in the future. You’ll see that drag is not a threat to anyone,” Garcia said.

Amendments pass

Despite Garcia’s impassioned speech, Brecheen’s amendment was approved by a voice vote.

Other amendments to pass included one from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). He called for the elimination of any offices of diversity, equity and inclusion within the armed forces and Pentagon, and removing officials who work in those offices. It passed 211-208.

Another amendment (from Montana GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale), seeks to halt military health care from covering gender transition surgeries and gender hormone treatments for trans people.

House Republicans tried to pull exactly the same stunt last year. They added a drag ban to the NDAA, alongside other amendments many regarded as anti-LGBTQ+. All the amendments were scrapped from the final bill.

Robert Garcia has made no secret of his admiration of drag queens in the past. In June 2023, Garcia honored RuPaul by delivering a speech praising him on the floor of Congress.

Earlier this week, Garcia posted a photo of himself with Drag Race queens Plastique and Vanjie.

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