While questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) suddenly felt compelled to grill Blinken on whether or not anyone in the White House has been deputized to “push the button” and cut President Joe Biden’s mic if he goes off-topic. “Senator, I really don’t know what you’re referring to,” Blinken replied, while trying to keep a straight face. Risch was talking about a non-event the day before, which was reported by right-wing media as evidence of some sort of Democratic conspiracy. “This isn’t the first time the White House intervened in blocking Biden from being heard by the general public,” Fox News howled.
In fact, the livestream cut off when the public portion of the event ended and Biden began speaking one-on-one with a Washington State forestry official.
“Look, we’ve all seen this,” Risch demanded. “We saw it as recently as yesterday. 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?” When Blinken again said Biden speaks for himself, Risch insisted that it has “been widely reported” to the contrary: “Are you telling this committee that this does not happen, that there’s no one in the White House who pushes the button and cuts him off in mid-sentence?”
“That’s correct,” said Blinken.