ORLANDO | Before the Republican presidential candidates take the debate stage tonight, eatery Hamburger Mary’s and the political action committee Disney Defenders will host a debate of their own featuring local drag queens.
Drag Debate will pit a group of local favorite drag performers against each other, debating on which of the GOP candidates is the most ridiculous and dangerous to the LGBTQ+ community.
“Ron DeSantis, the guy who is literally running a presidential campaign based on banning Disney, banning drag and banning books, really turned Florida into a place where millions of our neighbors are living in fear and now he is threatening the entire country with that,” says Disney Defenders’ Chris Wills. “If that kind of hate is not defeated resoundingly what will end up happening is what we have seen with Trumpism, it starts to infect everyone else.”
While Florida’s LGBTQ+ community knows firsthand how dangerous DeSantis’ rhetoric and policies can be, this event isn’t just to call out the Florida governor.
“It is very important from the get-go that we make it very clear, we want to define in the minds of every single American voter it would be ridiculous and downright dangerous to vote for any of the Republicans that are running for president,” Wills says.
At tonight’s debate, DeSantis will be joined on stage by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Former president, and current GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump has said he will not participate in the Republican debate tonight, rather he sat down with former FOX News host Tucker Carlson recently and that interview will be aired as counterprogramming to the debate.
The Drag Debate, which will take place one hour before the GOP debate kicks off, will be at Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando. A similar event will also occur at the Hamburger Mary’s in Wilton Manors at the same time. Both events begin at 8 p.m.
“Hamburger Mary’s is putting together some of the top drag performers, in Orlando and Wilton Manor, who will take the stage and debate which of these Republicans is the most ridiculous and dangerous,” Wills says. “There will be some moments of drag queen sassiness and laughter, it wouldn’t be drag without that aspect included, but it’s not to take away from the seriousness of the issues threatening our country.”
Wills adds that the drag debate will wrap up just before the Republicans take the debate stage and then, during the debate, some of the drag queens and some special invited guests will provide “live colorful commentary” during the debate.
The drag performers participating are being kept under wraps until the event, so you’ll need to attend to see who will being taking the Drag Debate stage.
Those who are planning to attend the Drag Debate can register at DragDebate.DisneyDefenders.com.