‘Baseless and Bizarre Conspiracy Theories’: White House Accuses GOP Senator of ‘Cheapening’ Senate Hearing on Afghan Withdrawal
The White House pushed back on Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), who, during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, accused the White House of cutting off the audio of President Joe Biden speaking.
“Senator Risch is cheapening this hearing by peddling baseless and bizarre conspiracy theories. Sec. Blinken and the administration will continue to engage in good faith with Congress in hopes of having a serious conversation,” said White House Rapid Response Director Mike Gwin as tweeted by Bloomberg News White House reporter Jennifer Epstein.
WH’s @MGwin46: “Senator Risch is cheapening this hearing by peddling baseless and bizarre conspiracy theories. Sec. Blinken and the administration will continue to engage in good faith with Congress in hopes of having a serious conversation” about Afghanistan. https://t.co/K47ztVrEhW
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 14, 2021
Gwin retweeted Epstein’s post.
During the hearing, Risch, the committee’s ranking member, asked Blinken that “as recently as yesterday, 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?”
Blinken denied that someone could cut off the audio when the president is speaking.
After repeatedly asking Blinken who in the White House has cut off the audio of Biden speaking, Risch asked the nation’s top diplomat, “Are you unaware this is actually happening? Because it happened yesterday at the [National] Interagency Fire Center. It was widely reported, the media’s reported on it and it’s not the first time it’s happened, it’s happened several times. 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,” responded Blinken, who laughed during Risch’s question.
“So this didn’t happen nor on the other occasions where the media showed the American people that his sentence was cut off in mid-sentence,” asked Risch.
“Senator, I really don’t know what you’re referring to,” said Blinken. “All I can tell you is having worked with the president for now 20 years, both here on this committee and in over the last nine months at the White House, the president very much speaks for himself.”
“Well, let’s take a different attack,” said Risch. “He does speak for himself, but what happens when somebody doesn’t want him speaking? You’re telling us you don’t know anything about this, that somebody cuts him off in mid-sentence, is that what you’re trying to tell this committee? Because everybody here has seen it.”
Blinken replied, “Senator, I am telling you based on my own experience with the president over the last 20 years, anyone who tried to stop him from saying what he wanted to say, speaking his mind, would probably not be long for their job.”
Watch above, via MSNBC.
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