Blinken Slammed for Testifying Virtually — From Nearby Sec. of State Antony Blinken testifies virtually in a House Foreign Affairs Committee on Sept. 13, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
By Jack Gournell | Monday, 13 September 2021 06:36 PM
Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared via remote video feed for his Afghanistan testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Monday, and that did not sit well with at least one Republican member.
"Mr. Blinken, assuming it isn’t classified, can you tell us where you are today?" Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., asked Blinken, who could be seen apparently in an office with a American flag behind him to the left and a U.S. State Department flag on the right.
"Yes, I'm at the State Department," Blinken said, just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol where the hearing was taking place.
"Oh, couldn't be bothered to come down here and see Congress?" Perry said. "All right, that's great."
Blinken responded that it was his "understanding" that the House of Representatives was "not in session," but Perry interrupted him, saying, "I’m right here, Mr. Secretary, so is the chairman and ranking member. We’re here!"
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., later noted that it was a"hybrid hearing" with some choosing to be present and others, including representatives, choosing to "be other places."
Such virtual hearings began as a COVID-19 protocol, especially before vaccines became available, but have continued in some cases, such as Monday's testimony.
The Biden administration is under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike for its botched pullout of Afghanistan, allowing for a complete takeover by the Taliban in just days, while leaving Americans and allies behind.
The administration says all will eventually be rescued.