Embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos was chastised by a former GOP presidential nominee for attending President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Santos has admitted to fabricating and embellishing items in his background and on his resume. Colleagues and constituents have called on him to resign.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called Santos a "sick puppy" and said he doesn't belong in Congress.
"He's a sick puppy. He shouldn't have been there," Romney told reporters, NBC News reported. "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."
"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."
Romney, who ran for president in 2012, said he's disappointed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is not pressuring Santos to resign.
A CBS News source said that during a tense pre-SOTU floor exchange, Romney told Santos, "You ought to be embarrassed," and Santos called Romney an "a**hole" in return.
Santos took to Twitter to take a shot at Romney after Biden's speech.
"Hey @MittRomney just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!" Santos tweeted.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., called it "questionable" for Santos to attend the State of the Union.
"Certainly, the fact that he showed up to the State of the Union was questionable but sitting on the aisle to where he could get attention?" Comer told NBC News. "The fact that he was wanting to be in the center of the limelight, it just makes no sense."
Santos brought a former firefighter who did rescue work at ground zero on 9/11 as his guest to the State of the Union, The New York Times reported.
Michael Weinstock, a Democrat who once ran for the House district that Santos now represents, told the Times that the lawmaker officially extended an invitation two weeks ago.
McCarthy told CNN on Tuesday that the House Ethics Committee is investigating Santos as mounting scandals are leading to more of his colleagues calling for his resignation.
"Ethics is moving through, and if ethics finds something, we'll take action," McCarthy told CNN on Tuesday when asked about calls for Santos' resignation. "Right now, we're not allowing him to be on committees from the standpoint of the questions that have arisen."
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