Mitt Romney calls for George Santos’s immediate resignation as own party turns on him

·2-min read
George Santos and Mitt Romney ( )
George Santos and Mitt Romney ( )

Utah Senator Mitt Romney on Wednesday said embattled New York congressman George Santos should resign from Congress after the first-term House member was indicted on 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol on the day Mr Santos was arrested and set to be arraigned in a Long Island federal courtroom, Mr Romney called for him to step down immediately.

“I think we’re seeing that the wheels of justice may grind slow, but they grind fine and he will have his day in court, but it certainly appears that things are not going well for Mr. Santos,” he said.

Mr Romney previously told Mr Santos he had no business being in the House of Representatives during a testy exchange before President Joe Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address to Congress in March.

In the confrontation between the Utah Senator and the freshman New York representative that was captured by television cameras, Mr Romney called Mr Santos “an embarrassment” and told him: “You don’t belong here.”

The Utah Republican later told reporters that Mr Santos, who was camped out in an aisle seat in hopes of shaking Mr Biden’s hand, was a “sick puppy”. At the time, Mr Santos was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee follow revelations that he’d fabricated much of his personal and professional background during his campaign for the House seat he won in 2022.

“Given the fact that he’s 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,” he said at the time.

Other Republican members of Congress have called for Mr Santos to step down, including Arkansas Representative Steve Womack, who told CNN on Wednesday that it would “absolutely” be preferable for the GOP of Mr Santos found the exit.

“It’s a distraction and it’s a punchline for comment regarding the Republican Party that we don’t need,” he said.

Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, a former Trump administration cabinet secretary who resigned in disgrace before being elected to one of the Treasure State’s two House seats, also suggested it was time for Mr Santos to go.

“The Ethics Committee, in my opinion, needs to act on it now. I think America deserves the answers,” said Mr Zinke. “If the charges have veracity and they’re true, then he should not be a member.”

Mr Santos’ fellow New Yorker, GOP Representative Nicholas LaLota, said Mr Santos “ needs to go right away”.

“I hope he resigns. I wanna concentrate on things like the border, China and debt. He’s a complete embarrassment,” he said.