If he has it his way, incoming Congressman-elect Robert Garcia of California will be prancing his way right past Georgia's U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and leaving one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ members of Congress in his wake. That's the message Garcia sent when he posted a popular reaction video of NeNe Leakes stepping out to Saucy Santana's song "Walk."
"As a reminder, this will be me when I walk by Marjorie Taylor Greene in the Capitol next week at orientation," Garcia, the first out gay immigrant elected to Congress, tweeted Friday afternoon.
On Saturday, after the tweet received more than 100,000 likes and some right-wing hate, Garcia tweeted, "Apparently, I've already started agitating the homophobic MAGA / Marjorie Taylor Greene stans. Y'all ain't ready for the [confident attitude]."
The current Long Beach, Calif., mayor has proven to be a master of the meme.
Monday, as the first week of new member orientation kicked off, above a gif of a hunky Superman who winks at the camera, Garcia tweeted, "Me meeting all the new Republican freshman at orientation this morning."
Garcia's online confidence in being a gay man is by design because he's proud of who he is.
Garcia spoke with The Advocate Monday from the noisy halls of Congress between new member orientation sessions.
"["Marjorie Taylor Greene] is somebody that has zero interest in allowing gay people to live full lives, so I think she shouldn't be in Congress," Garcia says. "I think she represents exactly what's wrong in our country."
He adds, "I'm sure she's not going to like me very much."
Because Greene has displayed hatred toward immigrants (he immigrated from Peru as a child) and the LGBTQ+ community, and Garcia represents both, he says her attitude toward him will be a reflection upon herself.
"I'm proud of who I am and look forward to uplifting those issues, and she has got to be called out every single day for her bullshit and for the lies she tells about our community and for the harm she does against gay people and immigrants," he says.
He adds that it's the job of Democrats like him to be honest with people and push forward positive ideas and legislative proposals to benefit the country.
For example, he says, Democrats must be aggressive in taking on disinformation, misinformation, and science denialism by Republicans on matters from COVID-19 vaccines to climate change.
"We have to be aggressive in taking on the extreme right wing that is not really focused on truth. We've got to uplift the truth and be honest all the time," he says.
"I'm committed to making sure that we call out the extreme Republicans, the extreme far-right conservatives that are intent on transforming our country into some Trump authoritarian place that is not welcoming for most of the people of the country."
Garcia says that as somebody who wasn't born with American citizenship but who earned it, he understands what patriotism and love of country mean.
"It's about helping people in your country, about loving your country so much that you actually want to help others and do good. It's not about 'America first' or individualism," he says. "It's about helping people."
One thing he's grateful for help with as he gets acquainted with his new D.C. digs is a fun group with whom to watch RuPaul's Drag Race.
The self-described RuPaul uber-fan says that although one of the highlights of his life was earning the ability to represent his community in Congress, another bit of excitement came a close second.
The day after the election, Garcia tweeted a screen shot of a tweet about him that RuPaul had retweeted.
"So @RuPaul just retweeted me and I'm having a mild panic attack," he wrote. He followed that tweet up with "[Please] don't judge me when I'm at drag brunch and drag race watch parties in D.C."
Garcia says that the tweet got him invited to several watch parties, which he appreciates.
"One, they [invitations] are welcome," he says. "I have had some invitations which I'm excited about. I'm a huge RuPaul fan and drag stan in general, so I'm excited about that."