You need to listen closely given how low the audio is but WaPo has what appears to be a solid transcript of the exchange. It’s not clear at first that Reed and Collins are talking about Trump but it becomes clear when Reed mentions the “Ford commissioning” that “he” attended a few days ago.
They’re not even referring to his Sessions tweets. They’re talking about the slapdash budget process.
“I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] just went through and whenever there was ‘grant,’ they just X it out,” Collins says. “With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It’s just incredibly irresponsible.”
“Yes,” Reed replies. “I think — I think he’s crazy,” apparently referring to the president. “I mean, I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.”
“I’m worried,” Collins replies…
“I don’t think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything,” Collins says, referring to a 2011 law that defines the budget process.
I think Reed says “I don’t say that lightly, as in ‘He’s kind of a goofy guy,'” but whatever. Trump-hating reporters now have a fresh line of inquiry for senators they encounter in the Capitol: “Do you agree with Senators Reed and Collins that the president is a few fries short of a Happy Meal? Also, what do you think of ‘the 25th Amendment option?'”
Collins is a purple-stater who’s already on Trump’s s*** list because of her serial refusal to vote for anything on McConnell’s health-care menu, so this exchange will cost her little. Other Republicans in the Senate aren’t as insulated; now that this clip is making the rounds, no doubt they’ll be all be more careful with their private chatter about the president’s mental stability within range of microphones. By the way, as WaPo notes, the mention at the end of Collins being challenged to a “duel” is a reference to GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold, who told a radio show yesterday that if Collins, Murkowski, and Shelley Moore Capito — the three no’s on clean repeal of ObamaCare in the Senate — were men, he might handle them Aaron-Burr-style. Never mind that the Collins faction is pushing for a bill that’s truer to Trump populism than Trump himself is.