On Tuesday, Republican Senator James Risch of Idaho asserted that somebody other than President Joe Biden is “calling the shots” at the White House.
As reported by Fox News, “Risch made the comments during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
The senator also said the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan was a “dismal failure.”
Risch referred to a situation from the day prior when the White House appeared to cut off the feed of Biden, who was at an event in Idaho, once the president started asking a question to George Geissler of the National Association of State Foresters.
“One of the things that I’ve been working on with some others is —” Biden said before the feed was cut and replaced with a full-screen graphic that said, “Thank You For Joining.”
BIDEN: “Can I ask you a question?”
*White House feed cuts out” pic.twitter.com/YQ9I9u3r98
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 13, 2021
According to The Washington Post, Biden’s official schedule for the day noted that the event was “pool spray at the top,” meaning that reporters were only going to attend the top of the event, then leave for the portion that was supposed to be closed to the press.
Risch seemed to address those circumstances, saying, “One of the things we need to get to the bottom to is who is responsible for this? Who made the decisions?”
“[Biden] can’t even speak without someone in the White House censoring it or signing off on it,” he said.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Risch said, “This is a puppeteer act, if you would, and we need to know who’s in charge and who is making the decisions.”
“There is not enough lipstick in the world to put on this pig to make it look any differently than what it actually is,” he said later on, in a reference to the catastrophic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. “The American people want to know who is responsible for this?”
“Ultimately, the president makes the decisions,” Blinken responded. “As in every case, ultimately decisions that can only be decided by the president are decided by the president.”
Risch pushed back, discussing the event Monday when Biden’s feed was turned off.
“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?” Risch asked.
“There is no such person,” Blinken answered, saying that the president “speaks very clearly and very deliberately for himself. No one else does.”
As Fox News previously pointed out, this isn’t the first situation where the White House has cut Biden’s feed. The outlet noted, “Last month, the president’s audio feed was cut as he was about to respond to a reporter’s question on his administration’s military withdrawal deadline from Afghanistan.”
The White House also cut the feed of a virtual event in March after Biden said, “I’m happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do …”
This article has been revised for clarity and updated to include additional information.