‘You don’t belong here.’ Mitt Romney tangles with George Santos before State of the Union

Santos said Romney’s criticism ‘wasn’t very Mormon.’

(Haiyun Jiang | The New York Times) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, right, exchanges words with Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., a fellow Republican who represents a New York district in Long Island and Queens, before the State of the Union address in Washington on Tuesday night, Feb. 7, 2023. Romney admonished Santos for positioning himself in a prime camera-ready spot in the chamber, saying he didn't belong there, and had no shame.

Sen. Mitt Romney had a heated exchange with Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives before Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

Santos had secured a spot on the aisle of the House chamber. Cameras caught Romney angrily addressing Santos as he walked past, saying, “You don’t belong here,” according to CNN.

Romney also appears to tell Santos, “You should be embarrassed.”

Following the speech, Romney lashed out at Santos, calling the New York Republican a “sick puppy.”

“He shouldn’t have been there. He’s a sick puppy,” Romney told reporters, according to The Hill.

“I don’t think he should be in Congress and he certainly shouldn’t be in the aisle trying to shake the hand of the president of the United States and dignitaries coming in,” Romney added.

The former Republican presidential nominee also called on Santos to resign.

After Biden’s State of the Union, Santos seemingly tweeted about the exchange with Romney.

“Hey @MittRomney just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!,” the congressman said, retweeting one of his previous posts saying that Donald Trump would be the next president.

On Wednesday, Santos said Romney’s criticism “wasn’t very Mormon,” according to CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane.

Romney wasn’t the only attendee who was irked by Santos’ presence on Tuesday night. Some, including Vice President Kamala Harris, either refused to shake hands with Santos or ignored him as they walked past him.

Santos has been caught in numerous lies about his biography since he flipped a Democratic-controlled seat in the 2022 election. He claimed his mother died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but there is no evidence she was even in the United States during the attack, The New York Times reported. He has falsely claimed he was Jewish and his grandmother was a Holocaust victim, that he worked on Wall Street and lied about his educational background.

There are also questions about how Santos financed his 2022 campaign, including the source of a $700,000 loan he made to his campaign. He’s also accused of swindling a disabled veteran out of $3,000 for his dying service dog, according to the Intelligencer.

Romney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.