Mitt Romney (R-Utah) verbally attacked Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) during the State of the Union address on Tuesday night because he believed the lawmaker should have been “staying quiet” rather than shaking hands on the House floor. As Santos comes under fire for lying about his background and potential campaign finance violations, investigations are now underway.
He told Santos he “shouldn’t have been there” during a tense exchange on the House floor. In an interview with reporters, the Utah senator said he “didn’t hear anything” about Santos’ response, but Santos claimed he said to Semafor, “Go tell that to the 142K who voted for me” and Romney called him an ass.
Santos is “a sick puppy, he shouldn’t be here,” Romney told reporters afterward, adding that he “didn’t expect that he would be there trying to shake hands with every senator and the president.”
“He was in the aisle, shaking hands with everyone,” Romney said when asked why he went so far as to confront Santos directly, and argued that given the House ethics investigation into Santos, “he should be sitting in the back row and staying quiet, instead of paraded in front of the president and people coming into the room.”
“Hey @MittRomney just a reminder that you will never be president,” Santos wrote on Twitter after the exchange.
“He claims he embellished his record … embellishing is saying you got an A when you really didn’t get one. Lying is saying you graduated from a college you didn’t attend,” Romney told reporters. “He shouldn’t be in Congress, and they’re gonna go through the process and hopefully get him out, but he shouldn’t be there, and if he had any shame at all, he wouldn’t be there.”
House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that Representative Santos is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which could be a route that leads to his being booted from Congress. It’s unclear what the scope of the investigation is, though lawmakers had called for Santos to face investigation for his “sparse and perplexing” financial disclosure reports. McCarthy has previously stood by Santos but said he will be removed from Congress if the ethics committee finds he has broken the law.