Former presidential candidate and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney told U.S. Rep. George Santos that he “didn’t belong” in Congress ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union, sharing the view of a group of Long Islanders who traveled to Washington and called for the congressman’s expulsion from the House.
Video surfaced Tuesday evening of Santos and Romney’s verbal spar ahead of the State of the Union address. Romney, following Biden’s speech, told reporters Santos was out of place trying to mingle with other politicians and noteworthy figures.
“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. “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.”
Semafor reporter Kadia Goba, who spoke to Santos after the address, said the congressman was called “an ass” by Romney, to which he replied, “You’re a much bigger asshole.” Santos took to Twitter, following the address, tweeting “Hey @MittRomney you will NEVER be president!”
The congressman has since deleted the tweet. Santos also expressed his issue with Biden’s State of the Union, claiming the president “refuses to acknowledge” the economic hardships facing the nation, but said he does not wish Biden ill will.
“I do not wish failure upon any sitting president,” Santos said in a statement. “President Biden’s success should be our success, and this should serve as an opportunity for the president to work with Republicans to reverse two years of abysmal Democrat-led policy.”
Santos notably attended the “stop the seal” rally on Jan. 6 where Biden defeated former President Donald Trump.
The congressman lauded the work done by the now-Republican-controlled House, despite Santos recusing himself from a pair of congressional committees amidst a flurry of investigations against him.
Romney was not the only one in Washington Tuesday who felt Santos was out of place in Capitol Hill, as dozens of 3rd District constituents trekked from Roslyn to the nation’s capital to have their voices heard. Their message- to have McCarthy and the House Ethics Committee expel Santos.
Chants of “New York 3, Santos-free” and “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Santos has got to go” rang out early Tuesday morning at the Roslyn train station as the group of 3rd District residents and political activists of all ages boarded their bus to Washington.
Once there, the residents flooded the hallways of the Capitol outside Santos’ office before joining New York Democratic Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres, who filed a complaint against Santos last month, called for him to be removed from office.
“The George Santos that was elected to represent NY-03 is not the real George Santos, and he’s deprived us of a real representative who can be trusted to serve us,” Aidan Davis, a youth activist, said. “That’s why we need Congress to act now—and that’s why I’m here today to call on Speaker Kevin McCarthy to ensure that the House Ethics Committee not only investigates his misconduct but that the entire House of Representatives votes to expel him from Congress immediately.”
Santos brought Michael Weinstock, a 9/11 responder and former Democratic congressional candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, as his guest to the State of the Union.
The congressman lauded Weinstock’s work in helping New York recover from the Sept. 11 attacks and supported him in his struggle with neuropathy, a disease stemming from the harmful toxins inhaled from the World Trade Center.
“I am grateful for Michael to join me as my guest, but also united in our quest to address the issue of the World Trade Center Health Program to cover neuropathy for the men & women who suffer as a result from the dust that came from the World Trade Center,” Santos said. “Michael’s story is one of heroism, but also one as a survivor who is advocating not just for himself but for fellow firefighters, and medical emergency responders.”
Weinstock expressed his gratitude to Santos for his invitation and said, despite political differences, he hopes to bring more attention towards firefighters who suffer from neuropathy, also named the “suicide disease” since there is no cure.
The condition, which affects the body’s nervous system, is also not covered under the World Trade Center Health Program.
“I am a proud Democrat and Congressman Santos is equally proud to be a member of the GOP,” Weinstock said. “Tonight, however, we speak with a unified voice, and we encourage the World Trade Center Health Program to include neuropathy as a ‘covered condition.’”