Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) to take a hike during a heated confrontation ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Santos, the truth-challenged congressman from New York, had positioned himself on the center aisle of the House chamber, where lawmakers often stand on such occasions in order to shake hands with the president.
As members of the Senate walked into the chamber and made their way down the aisle, Romney spotted Santos and told the congressman that he didn’t belong in the chamber.
“Look, he’s a sick puppy. He shouldn’t have been there,” Romney told reporters after the speech. “Given the fact that he’s under an ethics investigation, he should be sitting in the back row and being quiet instead of parading in front of the president. You certainly shouldn’t be in the aisle trying to shake the hand of the President of the United States and dignitaries coming in. It’s an embarrassment.”
Santos, meanwhile, appeared to mouth to a colleague “what an asshole,” according to an ABC News producer. He later tweeted at Romney, telling the senator “just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!”
Watch a video of the exchange below:
After winning his election in November, Santos confirmed that he had lied about nearly every aspect of his personal biography, including his academic credentials, work history and ancestry. Although he has refused to resign despite calls from his own constituents, Santos recently stepped down from his House committee assignments.
Romney wasn’t convinced by Santos’ attempts to minimize the scandal. “He says that.. he embellished his record,” Romney told reporters on Tuesday. “Look, embellishing is saying you got an A when you got an A-.Lying is saying you graduated from a college that you didn’t even attend and he shouldn’t be in Congress.”
Biden also walked by Santos on Tuesday, but the congressman didn’t get a chance to shake the president’s hand. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) positioned herself between Santos and the aisle just before the president entered the chamber and got a handshake from Biden instead.
Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.
This article has been updated with additional remarks from Sen. Romney.