President Joe Biden has a long history of public gaffes and embarrassing misstatements, which has reportedly prompted his advisers to limit unscripted remarks as well as exposure to reporters.
“The president speaks for himself”
During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. James Risch (R-ID) pressed Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the issue.
“Somebody in the White House has the authority to press the button and stop the president, cut off the president’s speaking ability,” he declared, according to Esquire. “Who is that person?”
Offering his first of multiple denials, Blinken insisted that Biden “speaks clearly and very deliberately for himself.”
Risch continued his line of questioning, asserting that the president’s feed has been cut on various occasions and once again asking which White House staffer “has the ability to push the button and cut off his sound and stop him from speaking.”
According to Blinken, “no such person exists” and “the president speaks for himself.”
“Thank you for watching”
Seemingly surprised that the secretary of state is “unaware that this is actually happening,” the senator played a video clip from a recent event in which Biden is cut off mid-sentence and the feed is replaced by a screen stating: “Thank you for watching.”
The New York Times chronicled prior similar incidents, including an interruption of his feed in March just after he said he would be “happy” to field questions from Democratic lawmakers gathered for a virtual meeting.
While Blinken and others in the Biden administration might assert that there is no conspiracy afoot, these anecdotes continue to fuel speculation among many Americans that the president is not mentally fit for duty.
A recent Politico report cited unnamed administration staffers who claimed, among other things, that many insiders intentionally ignore Biden’s unscripted remarks in hopes of avoiding a potentially embarrassing public misstep. Biden has exacerbated the situation further by adopting a harsh tone toward reporters as well as signaling that his handlers do not want him to take questions from the press.
Some Biden critics have already called for him to undergo cognitive testing to determine if he is up to the demands of the presidency. If his public remarks continue to be mysteriously cut short, it seems clear that such concerns will only continue to multiply.