Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters
Joe Biden delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday, but Republican Congressman George Santos still managed to grab some headlines, in a seemingly tense exchange with Mitt Romney, the Utah senator and former Republican presidential candidate.
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“He shouldn’t be in Congress,” Romney later told reporters.
Santos won House elections in New York’s 3rd District last year. Since then, he has been shown to heavily fabricate his resume, including a number of outlandish claims, while his past behavior, sometimes under the name Anthony Devolder, financial affairs and campaign finance presentations are under scrutiny. relentless.
He has also been accused of sexual harassment by a former congressional aide.
On Tuesday night, as senators entered the House chamber before Biden’s speech began, Santos and Romney were seen talking for about 10 seconds.
Efforts at lip reading spread across the internet. Most thought that Romney saying “You should be ashamed”, or something similar. CNN reported that someone who witnessed the exchange said Romney told Santos: “You don’t belong here.”
Santos continued to speak with Romney as the senator walked away.
After Biden’s speech, in a flurry of reporters, Romney was asked about the trade. Confirming that he said, “You don’t belong here,” he added, “He shouldn’t be in Congress.”
Referring to the calls for ethics investigations, Romney said: “They’re going to go through the process and hopefully get it out. But he shouldn’t be there and if he had any shame, he wouldn’t be there.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has sided with Santos, whose vote is part of the narrow majority the Republican leader must work with. Santos withdrew from two committees.
Santos admitted to embellishing his resume, but denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly said he will not resign.
“He said it embellished his record,” Romney said. “Getting pretty is saying you got an A when you got an A less. Lying is saying you graduated from a college you didn’t even attend.”
Santos said he went to Baruch College and New York University. He did not do it.
Romney also said that Santos “could have” responded to him on the House chamber, but did not hear how.
In the echo chamber of social networks, while the images of the exchange were spreading, Santos tweeted: “The SOTU category is: GASLIGHTING!”
After the speech, he aggregate: “Hi Mitt Romney, just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!”
A former Massachusetts governor, Romney was defeated for president by Barack Obama in 2012, when Biden was vice president. Romney entered the Senate in 2018 and has become a moderate voice in a far-right Republican party.
Earlier Tuesday, a delegation of New Yorkers from the Santos district, which covers parts of Long Island and Queens, held a small rally outside his Washington office, calling for his resignation.
Jody Kass Finkel, the group’s coordinator, said Santos was “a con man and now he’s working his way to Congress… Nobody trusts him.”