Lawmakers react after Chinese spy balloon shot down: ‘Disastrous projection of weakness’
Reactions from politicians and pundits poured in Saturday afternoon following confirmation that the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon after it hovered over the country for several days.
President Biden said Saturday that he gave the order to shoot down the balloon on Wednesday but his military advisers decided to wait due to concerns over injuring people on the ground.
‘The Biden Administration owes the American people answers now,’ Republican Rep. Andrew Garbarino, a Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told Fox News Digital after the balloon was shot down.
‘Not only was the Homeland Security Committee not informed of this CCP provocation before it broke on the news, but it has since come to light that officials were monitoring the balloon before it entered U.S. airspace and could have been shot down over the water before ever reaching our shores. This was the CCP testing their boundaries and President Biden failed in his response.’
Rep. Russell Fry, R-S.C, said the balloon ‘fell right above my hometown and blasted the Biden administration for not acting earlier.
‘Why was this allowed to go clear across the country for so many days? You know, you look at this, national security is one of the biggest things that any country can do. It is a core function of government,’ Fry said on Fox News Live.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the intelligence committee, echoed Fry’s sentiment, saying the balloon ‘should have been taken out earlier, over remote areas of Alaska or Montana.’
Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who is the Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member, said in a statement that the Biden administration’s response to the balloon is a ‘disastrous projection of weakness.’
‘It is clear that standard protocol for defense of U.S. airspace was ignored. If press reports are correct, the Biden Administration hoped to hide this incident from the American people from the start. The White House owes Congress and the American people answers about this failure, and I intend to get those answers without delay,’ Wicker said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., added that it amounts to ‘negligence’ if the U.S. is unable to recover information from the balloon due to the decision to wait until it was over the ocean. Nevertheless, Graham said the eventual decision to take it down was a ‘sound decision.’
‘I’m glad we shot it down…I’m open minded to hear our explanation,’ Graham added.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik said that President Biden ‘abysmally failed’ a test on the world stage.
‘The Chinese Communist spy balloon should never have been allowed to cross into our sovereign nation gathering intelligence,’ Stefanik said. ‘The American people deserve to know why Joe Biden allowed this national security threat for so long, why he tried to hide it from the American people, and what information our foreign adversaries were gathering.’
‘This is a time for peace through strength, and the Chinese Communist Party must know violations of American airspace will not be tolerated.’
‘U.S. Military: 1 Chinese Spy Balloon: 0,’ the House Judiciary Committee tweeted.
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence under former President Donald Trump Rick Grenell tweeted his criticism, saying, Biden ‘allowed the Chinese to collect data on Americans for more than a week – and only shot the balloon down AFTER the public found out.’
‘The reason? Radical elements of the Democrat party didn’t want to upset the Chinese while negotiating a climate change statement,’ Grenell wrote.
Democrats in Congress struck a much different tone from many Republicans.
‘I strongly condemn President Xi’s brazen incursion into American airspace, and I commend President Biden’s leadership in taking down the Chinese balloon over water to ensure safety for all Americans,’ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted. ‘Now we can collect the equipment and analyze the technology used by the CCP.’
‘It’s down folks!’ Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted along with video of the falling balloon.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.