A private conversation between two senators that was caught on a live microphone reveals a tense climate among lawmakers and with the White House.

Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, mocked Representative Blake Farenthold, who’d suggested he might challenge her to a duel if she weren’t a woman because of her opposition to holding a vote to get rid of Obamacare.

“He’s huge,” she said of the portly congressman from Texas, a fellow Republican. “He’s so unattractive, it’s unbelievable.”

Collins was speaking with Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, after a Tuesday Senate Appropriations subcommittee markup, apparently unaware that a microphone was picking up their conversation.

Reed told Collins, “Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the s–t out of him first.”

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