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Romney tells Santos 'you don't belong here' in a tense State of the Union run-in

Rep. George Santos and other Republicans gather in the House Chamber before President Biden delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Patrick Semansky
/
AP
Rep. George Santos and other Republicans gather in the House Chamber before President Biden delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah chided fellow GOP lawmaker Rep. George Santos Tuesday night as the two crossed paths in the House chamber while attending the State of the Union address.

In a video of the exchange, Romney appears to tell Santos "you don't belong here" and that he ought to be embarrassed.

Romney later confirmed to reporters that he told the New York congressman he didn't belong.

"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.

"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," he added.

Even before taking office last month, Santos was under fire for a pattern of telling lies about his past, many of which Santos himself admitted weren't true.

Questions about the freshman lawmaker's biography and his campaign finances have spurred investigations at the federal, state and local levels.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Santos was the subject of complaints to the House Ethics Committee but wasn't under formal investigation by the committee, which hasn't yet convened under the new Congress.

Santos has rebuffed calls to resign but late last month he voluntarily stepped down from his House committee assignments.

"With the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations, I have submitted a request to Speaker McCarthy that I be temporarily recused from my committee assignments until I am cleared," Santos said at the time.

He later added that he believed he would be cleared of any wrongdoing, telling reporters, "I have nothing to hide."

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Joe Hernandez