“I can show it to you,” the Maine Republican said as she hoisted up a colorful stick used to give individual senators a chance to speak during bipartisan discussions on passing a funding bill to end the government shutdown.
The talks were held in Collins’ office, so she set the rules: Whoever was holding the stick was the only person allowed to talk.
“As you can see, it’s beautifully beaded and it was given to me by my friend, Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota,” Collins told “New Day” anchor Chris Cuomo. “It is originally from Africa and it is used to help control the debate in a meeting, particularly when you have a large number of loquacious people.”
One Republican senator who attended the meeting told CNN the stick was mostly successful. But on one occasion, a senator was speaking while another asked a long, loud question. The senator who was holding the stick “forcefully delivered” it across the room towards the other member — but it missed its mark and caused damage to a shelf in Collins’ office.
“Is it true, Senator, that someone threw the stick during the meeting?” Cuomo asked.
“I think a more accurate word would be that there was — usually, I would pick up the stick and take it from person to person, but sometimes it was tossed,” Collins responded. “And in this case, the toss went slightly amiss.”
She then said a glass elephant on her shelf had been “only chipped,” not entirely broken, by the impact of the talking stick.