WASHINGTON – Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, rebuked Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., Tuesday night before President Joe Biden’s speech in what appeared to be a tense exchange on the House floor.

Santos, who has faced calls to resign after he admitted lying about much of his background, had taken a position in the center aisle of the chamber before Biden’s speech. Lawmakers often choose to sit along the aisle for the State of the Union so they can greet and shake hands with the president as he enters the room and walks to the podium.

As the senators filed into the Chamber, Romney had a brief exchange with Santos, who seemed annoyed when the Utah senator walked away. Romney spoke to reporters about the interaction after Biden’s speech.

From left, Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., speaks with Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, before the start of the State of the Union address at the US Capitol on Tuesday.nbc news

«He’s a sick puppy, he shouldn’t have been there,» he said of Santos standing in the hallway.

«Since he is under ethical investigation, he should be sitting in the back row and quiet instead of parading in front of the president,» he added.

A member of Congress who was close to the awkward moment between the two Republicans told NBC News that Romney told Santos that he doesn’t belong in Congress.

Santos later interrupted Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, in a tweet.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters Tuesday that while there have been complaints about Santos, the Ethics Committee has not formally opened an investigation into the embattled congressman.

Last month, McCarthy said Santos, who is the subject of multiple legal investigations, would be removed from his position if the Ethics Committee finds he broke the law after admitting to fabricating parts of his record.

Santos said last month that he would temporarily recuse himself from his committee assignments amid investigations into his finances and other matters.