Mitt Romney told George Santos he doesn’t belong in Congress during tense exchange before State of the Union

Freshman Congressman George Santos was confronted by Mitt Romney, the anti-Trump Republican senator from Utah, on Tuesday as the embattled representative arrived in the House chamber for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Cameras watching the controversial New York lawmaker, who is buried at the centre of countless scandals resulting from a long list of lies he has admitted to or been caught telling about his life and history, caught the Utah senator delivering a quick but scathing remark to his House colleague just a few minutes before Mr Biden’s speech began.

“You ought to be embarrassed”, it appears that Mr Romney says to his fellow Republican in the moment. Mr Romeny also told Mr Santos that he doesn’t belong in Congress, according to multiple reports after the exchange.

The two had a quick exchange of words, and Mr Santos was seen making a remark to the back of the departing senator.

ABC’s Ben Siegel then reported that Mr Santos was seen quipping “what an a******” to another member nearby.

It wasn’t initially clear if he heard the remark, but Mr Romney’s fellow Republican senator, Tim Scott, was seen making a surprised exporession a moment later as the two separated.

The Utah senator elaborated on what he told Mr Santos after the president’s speech concluded, telling reporters that he told Mr Santos that “given the fact that he's under ethics investigation, he should be sitting in the back row and staying quiet, not sort of of parading in front of the president and people coming into the room”.

“You certainly shouldn't be in the aisle trying to shake the hand of the President of the United States and dignitaries coming in. It’s an embarrassment,” Mr Romney added he told Mr Santos.

He then went on: "He shouldn't be in Congress. And they're gonna go through the process and hopefully get him out. And he shouldn't be there and if he had any shame at all, he wouldn't be there.”

Mr Romney is far from Mr Santos’s only Republican critic. A handful of his colleagues in the House, Nancy Mace and Anthony D’Esposito included, have called for his resignation. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has declined to say that Mr Santos should face any kind of punishment for deceiving voters about many aspects of his life.

The controversial congressman’s name was trending on Twitter shortly after the incident, mirroring the headlines he has grabbed nearly every day since the first of his lies were uncovered by New York media outlets.