President Biden repeatedly has stumbled to the close of a news conference, or a question-and-answer session, with remarks about how he’ll get in trouble for taking questions, or he cites his instructions to get off the stage.
Multiple times, in fact, his mike has been cut mid-sentence.
Now we know who has that authority.
The latest situation developed on Monday, when the White House feed of a live session involving Biden cut out.
He was in mid-sentence when the screen faded to a thank you for joining.
Only days earlier, reports revealed that some White House staff members have stopped listening to him speak “for fear he’ll veer wildly off-message,” the New York Post revealed.
Monday’s scenario developed when Biden was meeting with forestry experts in Idaho on the topic of wildfires across western United States.
He turned his attention to George Geissler, of the National Association of State Foresters.
“Can I ask you a question?” Biden asked.
Of course,” Geissler answered.
Biden got as far as, “One of the things that I’ve been working on with some others is…” before he was cut off.
Just last month, he was about to answer a reporter’s question on his plan to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, and he was cut off.
Cutting short his comments has developed into a pattern for the White House already, and that got the attention this week of Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho.
During a Senate hearing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he asked Blinken who has that authority – to cut off the president.
No one. Blinken said.
The Washington Examiner reported Risch said, “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?”
Blinken said, “I think anyone who knows the president, including members of this committee, knows that he speaks very clearly and very deliberately for himself.”
Risch followed up: “Well, are you saying that there is no one in the White House that can cut him off? Because yesterday, that happened, and it’s happened a number of times before that. It’s been widely reported. Somebody has the ability to push the button and cut off his sound and stop him from speaking. Who is that person?”
No one, Blinken insisted.
The report said the White House has been criticized multiple times for cutting off audio to Biden.
Biden had admitted several times his aides tell him to stick to his prepared remarks.
In May, he told reporters, “I’m not supposed to be answer all these questions.”
Recently, he closed an addressed with, “Now, I’m supposed to stop and walk out of the room here.”
Press Secretary Jen Psaki conceded during an interview a few months ago allowing the president to take questions from reporters was “not something we recommend.”
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