Update: In a statement, Sen. Collins said she apologized to Rep. Blake Farenthold for her comments body-shaming him on a hot mic tape. The Texas representative said on Friday he would duel the female senators who opposed the Republican healthcare bill "Aaron-Burr-style" if they were men.
Collins said, "Neither weapons nor inappropriate words are the right way to solve legislative disputes." She added that Farenthold apologized to her in a handwritten note she received late Tuesday morning and concluded, "I accept his apology and offer him mine."
This story was originally published on July 24, 2017 at 2:10 p.m.
Hours before she was due to vote on the Republican healthcare overhaul, Sen. Susan Collins was in the spotlight after she was caught on hot mic speaking about the federal budget, President Trump, and the Texas representative who said he would duel the female senators who opposed the healthcare bill if they were men.
The comments were made after a hearing held by the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Collins, a Republican from Maine, was reportedly speaking with Sen. Jack Reed from Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the committee. But their microphones were not off, so their comments got recorded as part of the hearing's official audio.
Collins started by addressing how the the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been dealing with next year's federal budget. She said, "I swear, they just went through and whenever there was ‘grant,’ they just X it out. With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It’s just incredibly irresponsible.”
Reed agreed before saying, "I think he’s crazy," in what seems like a reference to President Trump. "I mean, I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy."
“I’m worried,” Collins said.
Reed said he feared that if there's no budget deal, the federal government could come to a standstill.
Collins suggested President Trump doesn't know about the Budget Control Act, the 2011 law outlining the budget process. Reed agreed, mentioning that when Trump attended the commissioning of a new U.S. Navy aircraft last weekend, he asked for his budget to be passed. The president's proposed federal budget would add $54 billion to defense spending while making cuts across the board to government programs such as food stamps and student loans.
Reed then talked about how Budget Director Mick Mulvaney wants to allocate money for projects such as the border wall, while Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wants the budget to be "clean." He said, “We’re going to be back in September, and, you know, you’re going to have crazy people in the House.”
That’s when Collins addressed Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold’s (Texas) comments last Friday suggesting he would challenge the women who opposed the Senate healthcare bill to an “Aaron-Burr-style” duel if they were "a guy from South Texas."
“Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?” Collins asked Reed.
“I know. Trust me,” Reed said. “Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? ‘Cause you could beat the shit out of him.”
“Well, he’s huge. And he — I don’t mean to be unkind, but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable,” Collins said, before adding, “Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?”
The picture in question circulated when Farenthold first ran for Congress in 2010.
That's when the mic was cut out.
Neither Collins, Reed, nor Farenthold have addressed the comments.