The continuing saga that is the GOP attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act has taken some weird turns. Blake Farenthold, a Republican congressman from Texas, said in a radio interview last week that the health care repeal hasn't passed thus far due to "female senators in the Northeast" -- and that if they were men, he would settle the matter "Aaron Burr-style," CNN reported. Um, what?
Aaron Burr, if your American history is a bit fuzzy -- or if you're not a fan of smash hits on Broadway -- was the politician who shot and killed then-Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. The duel was illegal, and though he wasn't charged, Burr's career ended as a result of, you know, murdering a cabinet member.
You read that right. Rep. Farenthold is implying he would take the ladies out back and shoot 'em -- but only if they were burly men from Texas, because he's a gentleman -- so we could get this whole health care thing done and over with.
The full quote is even battier -- not least of which because he talks about how the lack of "courage" to take away healthcare from millions upon millions of people is "repugnant." He told Texas station "1440 Keys":
Listen, the fact that the Senate does not have the courage to do some of the things that every Republican in the Senate promised to do is just absolutely repugnant to me ... Some of the people that are opposed to this -- there are some female senators from the Northeast -- if it was a guy from South Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.
I mean, okay, this is Extremely Bad for the whole I'd-shoot-'em thing.
But it's also horrible because he's putting the blame on "female senators from the Northeast."
He's apparently referring to Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, all of whom opposed the bill. And like... I mean, only Collins is from the Northeast, so the whole "liberal elites from the northeast" narrative doesn't work.
He also forgot to mention that Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul -- to name a few -- also refused to vote "yes" on the bill. (For their own reasons, but still.)
It's not his first set of unfortunate comments about women, or first brush with ridiculousness.
Farenthold was sued by a former staffer in 2014 for making overtly sexual comments and creating a hostile work environment. He told his then-communications director that he had "wet dreams" about her. The suit was settled out of court.
He also took heat after being photographed wearing ducky pajamas and posing with a woman in lingerie at a party in 2010.
So, yeah, it's perhaps not surprising that he wouldn't have the best opinion on Sens. Collins, Capito, and Murkowski, despite the fact that they were only three among a cacophony of GOP voices who expressed doubts about the bill. His weird blame game and call for old-school political violence isn't doing him any favors.
But I'm not the only one who is side-eyeing the congressman. Twitter is roasting him for his weirdly anachronistic hot take.
Some are calling out his hypocrisy.
Others are laughing at the idea that he could even take on the women he has singled out.
Others are just shaking their heads, getting ready to try to unseat him.
I wonder if he'd wear his duck pajamas to the duel.