Embattled New York Republican George Santos is “saddened” that his fellow party member John Kennedy called him “nutty as a fruitcake” and a “bunny boiler” – a reference to Glenn Close’s unhinged, psychotic character in the 1987 movie Fatal Attraction.
Mr Santos responded to the Louisiana Republican’s comments on Tuesday. “I am saddened that a distinguished senator from the GOP, whom I’ve respected would use such derogatory language against me,” he said.
“Language like that is hurtful and divisive, and has no place in Congress,” he added.
“He’s nutty as a fruitcake. That’s why I called him a bunny boiler. I don’t know if you have seen Fatal Attraction but there are people like that out there,” Mr Kennedy had told reporters earlier on Monday.
Amid all the controversies surrounding him, the New York Republican picked up on late-night TV hosts and comedians this week after a flurry of impersonations and jokes about him.
“I have now been enshrined in late-night TV history with all these impersonations, but they are all TERRIBLE so far,” he tweeted.
“Jon Lovitz is supposed to be one of the greatest comedians of all time and that was embarrassing – for him, not me! These comedians need to step their game up.”
The comedian clapped back.
Mr Santos was called out over lying allegations after his response to Mr Kennedy on Twitter.
“Language like that has no place in Congress, but lying about your religion and job history to gain votes to Congress is absolutely swell! – George Santos,” wrote one user.
“If you were so sad by these remarks, then you’d resign; but you’re not sad because you’re a sociopath,” wrote another.
He has also faced criticism from other fellow Republicans. James Comer told CNN that Mr Santos’s lies were “pretty despicable”.
“Look, he’s a bad guy. This is something that, you know, it’s really bad,” Mr Comer added.
Mr Santos, 34, is currently the subject of a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint that was filed earlier this month.
It accused Mr Santos – who has admitted to fabricating key details of his biography – of wide-ranging campaign finance violations.
“Particularly in light of Santos’s mountain of lies about his life and qualifications for office, the Commission should thoroughly investigate what appear to be equally brazen lies about how his campaign raised and spent money,” argued the complaint filed by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.
“It’s not up to me or any member of Congress to determine whether he can be kicked out for lying. Now, if he broke campaign finance laws, then he will be removed,” Mr Comer said.
Meanwhile, a majority of New Yorkers want Mr Santos to resign, according to a new Siena College poll. A total of 59 per cent of registered voters said Mr Santos should resign from Congress, with 64 per cent of Democrats saying he should.
The list of allegations against Mr Santos also includes lying about his grandparents’ Holocaust survival.
The Republican Jewish Coalition has said Mr Santos had “deceived” the organisation and “misrepresented” his Jewish heritage. It said he was not invited to any of its events any longer.
Chief executive Matt Brooks said he was “disappointed” in Mr Santos after the New York Republican admitted to embellishing key facts about his life.