WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney told embattled New York Rep. George Santos he doesn't belong in Congress during a tense exchange before the State of the Union address Tuesday.
The brief interaction was caught by C-SPAN cameras, and Romney later confirmed to reporters that he had told Santos, "you don't belong here."
"I didn't expect him to be standing there trying to shake hands with every senator and the president of the United States," Romney told reporters about Santos in an interview after Biden's address. "Given the fact that he's under an 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."
Santos, 34, has lied about nearly every aspect of his background, including college education, ethnic heritage and work experience.
"Look, he says he embellished his record," Romney continued. "Embellished 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, they're going to 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."
Romney said if Santos may have responded to him, he "didn't hear it."
After the exchange, Santos took to social media with his comeback.
"Hey @MittRomney just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!" Santos tweeted Tuesday night.
Santos has stepped down from his committee assignments amid a litany of ethics issues. He has faced numerous calls for his resignation and is facing multiple investigations by prosecutors over his personal and campaign finances and lies about his personal life.