She Might Be The Last Decent Republican In America, And This Audio From A Hot Mic Proves It

Tuesday morning, attendees of a Senate subcommittee hearing were treated to that wonder of wonders, a “hot mic” episode — in which a speaker continues talking without realizing that their microphone is still live. In this case, it was Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine.

Collins, noted recently for her opposition to the GOP health care bill currently before the Senate, is known for thinking outside her party. It’s not really surprising that she does — it’s actually surprising that more Republican female members of Congress aren’t at least a little concerned with their colleagues’ behavior. But if Collins’ bucking the party on Trumpcare made you smile, the exchange she had with the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee she chairs, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, will make you smile even bigger:

Collins: I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] 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: Yes. I think — I think he’s crazy. I mean, I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.

Collins: I’m worried.

Reed: Oof. You know, this thing — if we don’t get a budget deal, we’re going to be paralyzed.

Collins: I know.

Reed: [Department of Defense] is going to be paralyzed, everybody is going to be paralyzed.

Collins:I don’t think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything.

Reed: He was down at the Ford commissioning saying, ‘I want them to pass my budget.’ Okay, so we give him $54 billion and then we take it away across the board which would cause chaos.

Collins: Right.

Reed: It’s just — and he hasn’t — not one word about the budget. Not one word about the debt ceiling.

Collins: Good point.

Reed: You’ve got [Budget Director Mick] Mulvaney saying we’re going to put in all sorts of stuff like a border wall. Then you’ve got [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin saying it’s got to be clean. We’re going to be back in September, and, you know, you’re going to have crazy people in the House.

Then the conversation got funny. On Monday, a Texas congressman was clearly referring to Collins when he blamed “female senators from the northeast” for holding up Trumpcare. He said if she were a “guy from south Texas,” he might take her on, “Aaron Burr-style”:

Collins: Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?

Collins: Well, he’s huge. And he — I don’t mean to be unkind, but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable.

Collins: Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?

Unfortunately, I must now show you the picture she’s talking about:

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Obviously that last bit caught someone’s ear, because the mic was cut off.

Seriously, though: It is adorable that, even in what she thought was a private conversation, and even though that slob had talked about literally shooting her, she still says “I don’t mean to be unkind.”

The only thing left to make Collins a Democrat at this point is to say this stuff into a mic she knows is live.


Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images