Secretary of State Antony Blinken hit back on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as Republican Senator James Risch relentlessly questioned him about a rumor that a White House staff member was “pushing the button and cutting. [Joe Biden] off mid-sentence ”with a wireless device.
“Someone in the White House has the power to push the button and silence the President. Who is this person? Asked Risch, who was also the former lieutenant governor of Idaho.
In the testimony video, Blinken tries to hold back his amusement as Risch repeatedly asks him different iterations of the same question in a hearing that was supposed to focus on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Anyone who knows the chairman, including committee members, knows he speaks very clearly and very deliberately for himself,” Blinken said. “No one else does. “
“Are you saying there’s no one in the White House who can interrupt him?” Risch asked again. “It has been widely reported that someone has the ability to press the button and mute and prevent them from speaking,” Risch persisted. ” Who is this person? “
“There is no such person,” Blinken said in response with a chuckle. “Again, the president speaks for himself, makes all the strategic decisions informed by the best advice he can get from the people around. “
If that wasn’t enough, Risch asked the question again and Blinken repeated his answer.
The idea that Biden is being controlled by someone behind the scenes comes from a tweet from RNC Research, an official affiliate of the Republican National Committee that claims he “exposes lies, hypocrisy and far-left policies Joe Biden’s failures ”.
The tweet included a video clip of a meeting in which Biden was briefed by federal and state fire department officials about the wildfires in the west.
Biden responds to comments from George Geissler, a state forester representing the National Association of State Foresters at the briefing.
” Can I ask you a question? Biden asks Geissler. “One of the things I’ve worked on with others is…” and the power goes off.
The longer version of the conversation, available on the official White House YouTube channel, ends after Biden asks, “Can I ask you a question?” “
While RNC’s tweet was based on Monday’s wildfire, right-wingers have been insisting for months that the White House is “preventing Biden from being heard by the general public” as they select the cases where a live stream was interrupted.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo debunked the plot and demonstrated that it was “the mic that fell,” which he said was intended.
“The press pool following Biden comes in briefly for photos, then they exit. It happens all the time, ”he said. “Standard operating procedure. But the right has been building this lie for months. They would prefer it to be something more.
Once the press window to photograph and record the meeting was over, they would be out, and that’s when the power was cut off, according to another media report.