The White House cut President Joe Biden’s audio stream after he was asked a question on Wednesday about Americans stranded in Afghanistan.
As he wrapped up a cybersecurity meeting in the State Dining Room, Biden dismissed the press as it continued to ask questions. However, he appeared to answer a reporter’s question before leaving.
Peter Alexander of NBC asked, “If the Americans are still in Afghanistan past the deadline, what will you do?
The White House then cut the audio stream of Biden’s response. It was not clear if the maneuver was a coincidence or if it was done to prevent viewers from hearing improvised commentary.
Alexander then confirmed the exchange and noted that Biden replied, “You will be the first person I call. “
He tweeted, “I asked President Biden what he would do if the Americans were still in Afghanistan after the August 31 deadline. His response: “You will be the first person I call. Didn’t take any questions. “
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Other reporters on site confirmed the exchange, including Daily Caller correspondent Shelby Talcott, Breitbart correspondent Charlie Spiering and Steve Herman of Voice of America.
Republicans accused the White House of trying to protect the president.
Former Mitch McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes tweeted: “The White House cuts the president’s microphone. Quite remarkable. “
Republican broadcaster Matt Whitlock tweeted, “Oh my God, they muted the president’s microphone so no one could hear him answer. That’s how worried this White House is that Biden will answer questions about Afghanistan. “
Others decried what appeared to be a callous response from the president.
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Biden has come under heavy criticism for the Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan following its withdrawal of American troops, and he has continuously dodged questions regarding efforts to rescue Americans stranded in the country.