Here’s an idea: Let’s just start leaving mics hot all the time. This is perhaps a plea to the audio engineers (?) in Congress and throughout the broadcasting world to “accidentally” leave as many mics on for as long as possible for the foreseeable future. While targeted leaks to worthy publications will always be one of the best ways to hold the Trump administration accountable, there is something deeply beautiful and even heartening about hot-mic moments such as this one, in which ranking Senate Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican Susan Collins of Maine join together to shit all over their troll-like colleague Blake Farenthold and the troll king himself, Donald Trump.
Here’s the sweet, sweet audio:
The Washington Post has a detailed blow-by-blow of the conversation. It begins with the two senators discussing the Trump administration’s spending, which has no cohesive idealogy, veering from wild cuts in grants to a “clean” border wall with no attention paid to the debt ceiling or the Budget Control Act, all of which could lead to a “paralyzed” federal government and Department Of Defense. It’s here that Reed confides, “I think he’s crazy,” referring to the president, who is almost certainly crazy. “I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of goofy guy.” Collins replies, “I’m worried,” which is extremely good to hear! Senators should know that it is okay to say this—not just on a hot mic, but publicly, and that their votes in Congress should reflect their fears of this administration’s uniquely apocalyptic brand of incompetence.
They next turn to discuss Rep. Farenthold of Texas, who said earlier this week that, if Senator Collins were a man, he’d have challenged her to a goddamn duel for not helping pass the Republicans’ characteristically unhinged, punitive Obamacare repeal, despite the fact that it would leave some 32 million Americans uninsured.
“Do you know why he challeged you to a duel?” Reed asks. “Cause you could beat the shit out of him.” Collins responds, “Well, he’s huge. I don’t mean to be unkind, but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable. Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?” At that point you hear an aide rush in and say, “Hot mic,” thus ending this brief glimpse into the inner lives of our congressional representatives.
And, for the record, we also don’t mean to be unkind, but here is the aforementioned photo of Rep. Farenthold:
The correct response to the actions of the Senate this week is a sort of bloodcurdling shriek; there are few images more abhorrent in recent memory than all of them uniting in applause as Senator John McCain ambled from his sickbed to cast a vote that would deprive millions of the sort of healthcare that kept him alive. Chumminess is not exactly a good look for any of them right now. And yet Reed and Collins’ hot-mic audio does at least show the sort of unity that should be gaining momentum against Trump’s unhinged policy demands—like repealing Obamacare without a replacement.
And anyway, everyone should make fun of Farenthold for that photo. He looks like a guy who won a contest to be there but got kicked out shortly afterward for unspecified conduct violations.