GOP Congressman Says He Would Challenge Women Senators to a Duel—If They Were Men
Update: Senator Susan Collins of Maine got caught on a hot mic talking about Rep. Blake Farenthold’s comments about challenging her to a duel, and she had nothing nice to say. “Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?” she asked Democratic Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed.
“Trust me, you know why he challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the shit out of him,” Reed responded.
Collins didn’t stop there. “He’s so unattractive, it’s unbelievable,” she said. “Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this bunny, Playboy bunny?”
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the GOP’s health care plan today—even if what exactly they’re voting on is a mystery. After early attempts to replace the Affordable Care Act failed, Senator Mitch McConnell proposed a vote to simply repeal it. But thanks to the objections of three Republican women senators—Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia—that plan too was blocked—at least temporarily.
Though stopping a bill that would’ve left 32 million people without health insurance was applauded by millions of Americans, one GOP member of the House of Representatives took offense. Yes, in an interview last week, Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold told the radio station 1440 KEYS that it was “absolutely repugnant” that Republicans in the Senate had yet to pass the health care bill. He specifically called out “some female senators from the Northeast” and added that “if it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr–style.”
First things first: Farenthold’s statement was factually inaccurate: Only one of these Senate women is from the Northeast—Susan Collins (last we checked, West Virginia and Alaska were decidedly not in that part of the country). Second, plenty of men in the Senate also wavered on their votes. In fact, it was Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran (of Utah and Kentucky, respectively) who stopped the repeal and replace effort last week. Farenthold seems conspicuously silent on the prospect of dueling either of those two gentlemen. And finally, it’s hard to take advice on what’s “absolutely repugnant” from a man who, as noted by The Cut, has been accused of sexual harassment by a former staff member, once registered the Internet domain “blow-me.org” in his name, and has voted to break up the Office of Government Ethics.
It’s bad enough that Collins, Murkowski, and Capito faced a flurry of attacks online for publicly opposing a bill that would have harmed their constituents, but it’s reprehensible that they have to deal with asinine remarks from a fellow legislator. And if this is what Farenthold has to say about women lawmakers, imagine what he would say about the hundreds of thousands of women activists and organizers around the country who have worked tirelessly to make sure the GOP Senate plan doesn’t become law.