Romney Scolds Santos, You Don't Belong 02/08 06:05
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican Rep. George Santos positioned himself in a
prime location for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address -- an
uncomfortably prominent place for the embattled new lawmaker who faces multiple
investigations and has acknowledged embellishing and even lying about his life
Santos' presence at the center aisle to see and be seen with the arrivals
was met with a stern rebuke from a fellow Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney.
"You don't belong here," the Utah Republican scolded Santos as he entered
the House chamber and spotted the New York Republican on the aisle.
Words were exchanged, it was reported, though Romney said later he did not
hear it all.
"He shouldn't be in Congress, and they are going to go through the process
and hopefully get him out," Romney told reporters afterward, his office
confirmed. "But he shouldn't be there, and if he had any shame at all he
wouldn't be there."
The exchange was an unusual lashing by the more reserved Romney, the
Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012, but shows the discomfort
Santos is bringing among traditional conservatives critical of the rightward
drift of more extremist elements of the GOP.
Santos retorted with a tweet: "Hey @MittRomney just a reminder that you will
NEVER be PRESIDENT!"
The arrival of Santos has been a problem for the Republicans since he won a
New York congressional seat, which helped to deliver the party a slim majority,
once his personal story began to unravel.
Santos has acknowledged fabricating, and at times lying, about parts of his
education, work experience and even his family's own religion and history.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met privately with the congressman last week
amid a swirl of potential investigations on and off Capitol Hill. Santos
announced he would step aside from his committee assignments ahead of an
expected House Ethics Committee probe.
McCarthy said Tuesday the situation with Santos would work its way through
the House Ethics Committee. Fellow New York Republicans have called for Santos
to resign from Congress. Santos faces other investigations beyond Congress.
Other Republicans heard the exchange and one Republican lawmaker who was
told about it said there was widespread displeasure that Santos had situated
himself in such a prominent spot. The lawmaker requested anonymity to discuss
what others said about the subject.
The center aisle basically gave Santos the chance to seize the limelight by
greeting the president and other prominent officials as they entered the House
chamber and made their way down the aisle.
As senators entered the House in a line, it was then that Romney spotted
Santos and delivered his message.
"I didn't expect that he'd be standing there, trying to shake hands with
every senator and the president of the United States," Romney told reporters
Romney said that given the investigations, Santos "should be sitting the
back row and staying quiet, instead of parading in front of the president and
people coming into the room."
But Santos, as is often the case, had his moment, becoming for a time the
face of the GOP.