Somebody in the White House has authority to press the button and cut off the president’s speaking ability and sound. Who is that person?”
On Tuesday, the top US diplomat attended a meeting of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he testified on the administration’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, which has received severe criticism from both Democrats and Republicans as well as US allies.
“I think anyone who knows the president, including members of this committee knows that he speaks very clearly and very deliberately for himself. No one else does”, Blinken responded.
Risch pressed Blinken on the issue again, asking him to reveal who turned off the live feed when Joe Biden started asking a question. And again the secretary of state responded that there was “no such person”. “The president speaks for himself, makes all of the strategic decisions, informed by the best advice that he can get from the people around him”, he said.
Senator Risch seemed unsatisfied and irritated with the answer and asked a third question.
“Are you saying [the incident] didn’t happen?” “Senator, I really don’t know what are you referring to. All I can tell you is having worked with the president for now 20 years, both here on this committee and over the last nine months at the White House, the president very much speaks for himself”, Blinken replied.
“I know people who habitually don’t watch [Biden’s briefings] live for that reason”, one White House official told Politico.