What did Mitt Romney say to George Santos? Republican lawmakers clash at State of the Union
The veteran GOP Senator had some tough words for the new-elected lawmaker. Romney told reporters that Santos is “a sick puppy” for lying.
The State of the Union address is one of the key public addresses that the President makes every year. For President Biden, who is expected to announce his candidacy for 2024 in the coming months, it was a crucial opportunity to frame his time in office.
But for many onlookers the real drama on Tuesday night was not in the President’s speech, but in a very tense meeting between two Republican lawmakers in the chamber of the House of Representatives.
Sen. Mitt Romney, a former GOP presidential candidate, is firmly from the old school of the Republican party. He has been willing to criticise former President Trump when few others in his party would risk doing so and has distanced himself from the popularist elements of the GOP.
On Tuesday he came into close contact with newly-elected Rep. George Santos, who is currently the focus of a House investigation into claims that he lied about his past to get into the House. Romney was seen talking briefly to Santos, who had positioned himself prominently in the chamber, telling the lawmaker, “You don’t belong here”.
Romney brands Santos a “sick puppy”
Before the State of the Union address, recently-appointed House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy told his members to be aware that their every move in the chamber would be recorded and watched around the world.
The leader of the House GOP campaign arm, Rep. Richard Hudson, told Axios: “There was just a reminder that there are boom microphones and some people’s conversations will be picked up and that anything you’re reading on your phone ... could be picked up by a zoom lens.”
However no long lens shots were required to capture Romney’s opinions on Santos after the veteran lawmaker spoke to reporters while leaving the chamber. The media had already witnessed the tense exchange and Romney confirmed that he had admonished Santos.
“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 said afterward.
He added: “Given the fact that he’s under ethics investigation, he should be sitting in the back row and staying quiet instead of parading in front of the president and people coming into the room.”
Romney continued: “If he had any shame at all, he wouldn’t be there.”
Beyond the criticism for fellow Republican Santos, Romney also took aim at Speaker McCarthy for allowing him to stay in the House while the ethics investigation is ongoing. When asked if he was disappointed that Santos had not been called on to resign by the party hierarchy, Romney answered: “Yes.”
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