Republican Idaho Sen. James Risch grilled Secretary of State Antony Blinken during Tuesday’s hearing about who is “in charge” of President Joe Biden at the White House and specifically asked who has the authority to “push the button” and cut off Biden’s microphone.
“Somebody in the White House has authority to press the button and stop the president, cut off the president’s speaking ability and sound. Who is that person?” Risch asked Blinked during the hearing.
“There is no such person,” Blinken responded, saying Biden “speaks very clearly and very deliberately for himself. No one else does.”
“This is a puppeteer act, if you would, and we need to know who’s in charge and who is making the decisions,” Risch said. (RELATED: Biden: ‘They Gave Me A List … I Was Instructed To Call On’ Certain Reporters Before Fielding Questions)
The first line of questioning to Secretary of State Antony Blinken from a Senate Republican during today’s hearing is Jim Risch bizarrely grilling Blinken about who in the White House has authority to “push the button” & cut off President Biden’s mic. Blinken insists nobody does pic.twitter.com/kWTmitvOXE
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 14, 2021
“One of the things we need to get to the bottom to is who is responsible for this? Who made the decisions?” Risch said. He continued, saying Biden “can’t even speak without someone in the White House censoring it or signing off on it.”
“Senator Risch is cheapening this hearing by peddling baseless and bizarre conspiracy theories. Sec. Blinken and the Administration will continue to engage in good faith with Congress in hopes of having a serious conversation about the President’s decision to end our military presence in Afghanistan – instead of re-escalating it – after 20 years and more than 2,400 American servicemembers lost,” Director of White House Rapid Response Michael Gwin told the Daily Caller.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a May interview with CNN’s senior political commentator David Axelrod that the administration encourages Biden to avoid unplanned questions from the press. (RELATED: Biden’s Staffers Reportedly Mute Him When He’s Talking)
Biden has also said multiple times that he is not supposed to take questions from the press. (RELATED: Biden’s Comms Director Claims ‘The President Never Shies Away From Taking Questions’)
In a Wednesday speech, Biden said he was “supposed to stop and walk out of the room” but he stayed. Biden also said in August that he was “instructed to call on” a number of reporters during a press briefing and that he was given a “list” of who to call on.