Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) had a burning question for Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the watchdog hearing scheduled for Tuesday on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan: Who continues to silence Joe Biden?
Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, claimed during the hearing that someone in the White House pressed a “button” to prevent Biden from speaking at an event on Monday on the threat of wildfires in Idaho.
“Someone in the White House has the power to push the button and cut off the president’s ability to speak. Who is that person? ”Risch asked Blinken, citing reports of the event.
“Senator, I really don’t know what you are referring to,” Biden’s senior official replied. “There is no such person. … The president speaks for himself.
Risch appeared to be referring to an article published by the New York Post which suggested that a White House livestream of Biden’s remarks was abruptly interrupted in order to prevent the president from committing a blunder. Biden was not barred from speaking at the Idaho event; journalists were allowed into the room to listen to his remarks during a meeting with local officials. The public portion of the meeting ended when Biden began questioning officials. The White House often imposes such rules on correspondents covering the president.
Republicans have tried to portray the 78-year-old president as not in control of his own presidency or his own mental and physical faculties. This effort has been to signal whenever Biden coughs or loses his train of thought while speaking.
Last month, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) Even suggested that Biden’s handling of the collapse of the Afghan government was grounds for considering firing him under the 25th Amendment. Former President Donald Trump made several attempts to make Biden’s mental state an issue during the 2020 presidential campaign.
Risch doubled down when asked about the exchange after the hearing. When asked if he was suggesting someone in the White House had become a thug, the senator replied that he was only asking questions.
“I don’t know the answer, that’s why I asked the question. It gets halfway through a sentence and someone pushes a button, ”Risch said.
The White House pushed back in a statement to HuffPost.
“Senator Risch belittles this audience by peddling baseless and bizarre conspiracy theories,” White House spokesman Mike Gwin said. “Second. Blinken and the administration will continue to engage in good faith with Congress in the hope of having a serious conversation about the president’s decision to end our military presence in Afghanistan – instead of reinforcing it – after 20 years and over 2,400 US servicemen lost. “
Several other Republicans focused on withdrawing from Afghanistan during Tuesday’s hearing. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) asked Blinken why administration officials did not extend their August 31 deadline for withdrawing US troops after postponing it once before, starting in May, when the Trump administration initially negotiated the withdrawal date with the Taliban. . And Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Toasted Blinken about a US drone strike in Afghanistan that allegedly killed an aid worker.
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