The tense showdown between Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and George Santos (R-NY) that had tongues wagging ahead of Joe Biden’s State of the Union address has been revealed—and it’s even juicier than first thought.
Earlier, Santos could be seen on the chamber’s video feed sitting near the center aisle in the House Chamber, seemingly waiting to shake President Biden’s hand. As Santos stood around, Romney appeared and the pair could be seen having a tense conversation. Even after the conversation appeared to be over, Santos turned towards Romney and spoke in his direction, despite the senator moving on.
Biden evaded Santos in the end, with Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, (R-IA) snagging the shake in his place.
It was initially unclear what was said between Santos and Romney—but the mystery was soon solved.
Not clear what was said here between Romney and Santos pic.twitter.com/1ZqzW6WOCY
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 8, 2023
Santos recounted the exchange to Semafor political reporter Kadia Goba, who detailed the conversation as below:
Mitt: You don’t belong here.
Santos: Go tell that to the 142K that voted for me.
Mitt: You’re an ass.
Santos: You’re a much bigger asshole.
Questioned after Biden’s speech, Romney confirmed he told Santos that he “didn’t belong here” and explained he made the comments because he “didn’t expect that [Santos] would be standing there trying to shake hands with every senator and the president of the United States.
MITT on Santos: “He shouldn't be in Congress. And they're gonna go through the process and hopefully get him out. But he shouldn't be there and if he had any shame at all, he wouldn't be there.” pic.twitter.com/9cAQ2dsO1V
— Alan He (@alanhe) February 8, 2023
“Given the fact that he is 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.
“Look, he says that he embellished his record,” Romney continued, noting Santos’ long list of falsehoods and fabrications.
“Embellishing is saying you got an A when you got an A-minus.
“Lying is saying you graduated from a college you didn’t even attend. He shouldn’t be in Congress and they’re going to go through the process and hopefully get him out. He shouldn’t be there and if he had any shame at all, he wouldn’t be there.”
Romney said he was unaware what Santos told him in reply and defended his choice to rip Santos to shreds: “He was standing right there in the aisle, shaking hands with everybody!”
He also described Santos as a “sick puppy” to The Hill.
Santos followed up with a tweet directed to his Republican counterpart.
“Hey @MittRomney just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!”
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) February 8, 2023