Embattled U.S. Representative George Santos was caught in a screaming match in the halls of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Friday after a protester grilled the congressman about his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It’s unclear what moments led to the heated exchange, but the New York Republican is caught on video claiming that the protester—who was identified by NBC News’ Sahil Kapur as Shabd Singh, a Jewish American from Washington—accosted him while the congressman was holding a “2-month-old baby.” New York Sun correspondent Matt Rice posted a photo to X, formerly Twitter, Friday afternoon of Santos holding a baby after leaving Representative Tim Burchett’s office.
In a video captured by Kapur and shared to X, Santos is seen directing Capitol police toward Singh while the protester asks Santos what he is doing to “call for the end” of the Israeli military’s actions in Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has called for a complete siege of the region after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a deadly surprise attack against Israel on October 7.
Singh told Kapur that he was “critical” of Israeli policies.
As Singh continues to ask questions, Santos raises his voice and points violently toward the protester, telling him that it is “abhorrent” to “try to defend” Hamas’ attack. At one point, a Capitol police officer signals for Santos to back away from Singh’s face.
“You are a terrorist sympathizer,” Santos yelled as Singh continued to question him. “You are human scum.”
As Santos walks down the hallway while being followed by a mob of media personnel, Singh shouts out, “You’re a coward.” The congressman responded, stopping briefly to turn back toward Singh, “You have no business in this building defending terrorists.”
Newsweek reached out to Santos’ office for more information via email on Friday.
In a statement shared to X Friday evening, Santos referred to Singh as “breathing stains on society” and again accused him of sympathizing with “Hamas terrorists.”
“This afternoon, a pair of these breathing stains on society accosted me,” read the statement. “A Hamas supporter and their partner cornered me and berated me with a two-month-old baby in my arms. This heinous behavior has no place in our society, let alone in our nation’s Capitol.”
Santos has attracted plenty of attention in his freshman year of Congress. On top of being caught lying about his resume while running for office last year, the Republican is also facing a total of 23 federal charges, accused of committing fraud and identity theft while campaigning. He pleaded not guilty to the first 13 charges filed against him.
Santos has also been accused of misleading voters about his religious background, claiming on his campaign website that his maternal grandparents escaped “Jewish persecution” during WWII. The congressman later corrected himself to say he meant he was “Jew-ish,” and was actually raised in a Catholic family.
Throughout the scandals, Santos has repeatedly ignored calls to resign from both Republicans and Democrats. After being hit with additional federal charges earlier this week, the congressman told ABC News that he intends to fight his case until “the bitter end.”
“I’m strong in my convictions that I can prove my innocence,” he added.
Update: 10/13/23, 6:42 p.m.: This article was updated with additional background information.