White House Cuts Live Feed as Biden Jokes about Americans Trapped in Afghanistan
Audio suddenly cuts as Democrat jokes about Americans stranded in Taliban-controlled Kabul
The White House suddenly cut the audio feed during a live press conference as Democrat Joe Biden smirked and cracked jokes when asked about Americans who are still trapped inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
The incident occurred during a Wednesday presser, just after a reporter asked Biden about the plan for rescuing stranded Americans from Kabul.
Despite the audio being cut, several reporters, who were in the room at the time, confirmed that Biden cracked a joke about the crisis.
At the time, Biden was holding an event about cybersecurity in the State Dining Room.
When it concluded, reporters tried to ask Biden questions as White House aides attempted to usher them out.
NBC’s Peter Alexander got a question in, asking Biden, “If Americans are still in Afghanistan after the deadline, what will you do?”
“The White House then proceeded to cut off the audio feed from Biden’s response,” Fox News reported.
“It was unclear if the maneuver was coincidental or done to prevent feed viewers from hearing any off-the-cuff comments.”
Alexander took to Twitter to recount the incident.
“I asked President Biden what he will do if Americans are still in Afghanistan after the 8/31 deadline."
The reporter said Biden responded by smiling then joking: "You’ll be the first person I call."
Biden "Took no questions," Alexander added.
I asked President Biden what he will do if Americans are still in Afghanistan after the 8/31 deadline.— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) August 25, 2021
His response: “You’ll be the first person I call.”
Took no questions. pic.twitter.com/MlyFIayrMZ
Other reporters at the event confirmed the exchange, including Daily Caller correspondent Shelby Talcott, Breitbart correspondent Charlie Spiering, and Voice of America’s Steve Herman.
“Pres. Biden (after introductory remarks on cybersecurity) ignored a question about what he’ll do if Americans are still in Afghanistan after Aug 31,” Talcott wrote on Twitter.
"When it was repeated, he joked to the reporter that ‘you’ll be the first person I call,’ per pool report."
Pres. Biden (after introductory remarks on cybersecurity) ignored a question about what he’ll do if Americans are still in Afghanistan after Aug 31. When it was repeated, he joked to the reporter that “you’ll be the first person I call,” per pool report.— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) August 25, 2021
“The White House cut the audio/video feed of Biden’s event so viewers could not hear reporters could ask questions. Media pool cameras, however, kept rolling,” Spiering tweeted.
The White House cut the audio/video feed of Biden’s event so viewers could not hear reporters could ask questions.— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) August 25, 2021
Media pool cameras, however, kept rolling pic.twitter.com/fdTWpyp7ZO
“Responding to @PeterAlexander, @POTUS quipped he’d be the first person he calls when he decides what to do about evacuees remaining in #Afghanistan, according to @stevenportnoy,” Herman wrote.
Republicans ascribed sinister intent to the White House.
"REPORTER: ‘If Americans are still in Afghanistan after the deadline what will you do?’ BIDEN: *smirks* *White House cuts audio feed*,” wrote the Republican National Committee.
REPORTER: “If Americans are still in Afghanistan after the deadline what will you do?”— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 25, 2021
*White House cuts audio feed* pic.twitter.com/k0SGWhpXm6
Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), tweeted, “The White House cuts the President’s microphone. Pretty remarkable.”
Republican communicator Matt Whitlock tweeted, “Oh my gosh they cut the President’s microphone so nobody could hear him answer.
"That’s how worried this White House is about Biden answering questions on Afghanistan.”
Steve Guest, special advisor for communications for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), said: “When Joe Biden does take questions, his handlers screen reporters and provide him a list of preapproved reporters to call on.
"Now, The White House is cutting the audio feed when a reporter tries to ask him a question.
"Operation Protect Joe Biden is in full swing.”
Others took aim at Biden for cracking a joke at such a serious time.
“This isn’t funny. Americans are being held hostage in a Taliban-controlled country, yet Biden is telling jokes when asked if they would be left behind if they can’t get out by next week….” wrote one person on Twitter.
During the daily briefing, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about Biden’s response: “What’s so funny?”
“I think what he conveyed is that he has not — well, what I can convey from here, I should say is that, as he stated yesterday and as the secretary of state just stated, we’re on track to complete our mission by August 31,” Psaki said.