Politics

Collins Caught on Hot Mic About Farenthold: ‘He’s So Unattractive, It’s Unbelievable’

Maine senator was responding to Texas congressman’s ‘Aaron Burr’ remark

Maine Sen. Susan Collins was overheard calling out a congressman who challenged her to a duel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine Sen. Susan Collins inadvertently responded to Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold’s allegorical challenge to a duel.

During the end of a hearing at the Senate Appropriations Committee, Collins was observed talking about Farenthold, a fellow Republican, with an unidentified male senator, identified by other media outlets as Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed.

“Did you hear him challenge me to a duel,” Collins said.

Reed joked with Collins, saying, “You could beat the s--- out of him.”

Collins said in response, “He’s so unattractive. It’s unbelievable.”

Then she added, “Did you see that picture of him in his pajamas?”

That reference was to a photo that circulated during the Texas congressman’s initial run for Congress in 2010 that showed him wearing a pair of duckie-print pajamas and posing next to a scantily clad waitress at a friend’s fundraiser.

On Monday, Farenthold told radio station KEYS it was “absolutely repugnant” that “some female senators from the Northeast” were blocking Republican attempts to repeal the 2010 health care law, seeming to address Collins, who is from Maine, and other female Republican senators who have had issues with the GOP plan.

Farenthold said if they were men, he would go “Aaron Burr-style” on them, referring to the former vice president who famously shot and killed founding Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. 

While she was telling Reed how she really felt, Collins had a few words about President Donald Trump, too, questioning his knowledge of how the budget worked.

“I don’t even think he knows that there is a BCA,” Collins said, referring to the Budget Control Act.

“He was down at the Ford commissioning saying I want them to pass my budget,” Reed said, referring to Trump’s speech at the official commissioning of the USS Gerald Ford on Saturday.

Reed press secretary Chip Unruh confirmed it was his boss who spoke to Collins, expounding on his criticism.

“Senator Reed was just letting Senator Collins know he’s in her corner,” Unruh said in an email. “He has said it publicly and said it privately: the Trump Administration is behaving erratically and irresponsibly. For the good of the country, the President needs to start focusing on the budget.”

Collins’ earlier reaction to Farenthold’s remarks on Monday evening was a little more restrained. The Bangor Daily News quoted her as saying, “In 20 years in the Senate, I have had a lot of people make suggestions about how to resolve legislative disputes, but until today nobody had ever suggested a duel.”

Farenthold later issued a statement Monday, blaming the media for blowing his comments out of proportion.

“Like the President, I am sick and tired of the left-wing biased media trying to make something out of nothing,” he said in a statement. “This was clearly tongue in cheek.

“That being said, I’m extremely frustrated with Senate Republicans who are breaking their promise to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare,” the Texas Republican added.

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