Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted the Biden administration after the president allowed a Chinese spy balloon to fly over the U.S. for several days.
The U.S. military used an F-22 Raptor to take out the Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina using an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.
Chinese spy balloon spotted over Montana
Conservatives: Biden should shoot it down.
Media: THAT WOULD BE AN ACT OF AGGRESSION, YOU FOOLS!
Days later, the balloon is shot down.
Media: THIS IS AN ACT OF GENIUS BY DARK BRANDON!
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 5, 2023
The Kentucky congressman accused President Joe Biden of reacting “indecisively” and acting too late.
Whether it’s spy balloons or spy satellites, China’s military modernization effort is no joke. I hope President Biden’s belated decision to finally do the right thing carries over into a more serious approach to America’s top adversary. My full statement: https://t.co/fli9tLbe5v
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) February 5, 2023
“As usual when it comes to national defense and foreign policy, the Biden Administration reacted at first too indecisively and then too late,” McConnell said.
He added, “We should not have let the People’s Republic of China make a mockery of our airspace. It defies belief to suggest there was nowhere between the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and the coast of Carolina where this balloon could have been shot down right away without endangering Americans or Canadians.”
“This was a reminder of the PRC’s brazenness and President Biden missed the opportunity to defend our sovereignty, send a message of strength, and bolster deterrence,” McConnell said.
Additionally, Republican members of Congress also criticized the Biden administration for waiting too long to act in bringing down the balloon.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said it shouldn’t have taken a week to shoot it down.
“I want to start by doing something that I don’t do very often, which is commending Joe Biden for actually having the guts to shoot this down. That was the right thing to do. That is absolutely what the president should have done,” he said.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t do that until a week after it entered U.S. airspace,” Cruz added.
Ted Cruz: "We know that when the Biden administration knew about the balloon, they said nothing. They did nothing. … I think the only reason they shot it down is because it made it into the news…and they felt forced to as a matter of politics rather than national security." pic.twitter.com/oQyiSJ5M5f
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 5, 2023
Moreover, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), on CNN’s “State of the Union” stated that Biden should have gone on TV to inform the public about the situation.
It was a mistake to not shoot down that Chinese spy balloon when it was over a sparsely populated area
This is not some hot air balloon, it has a large payload of sensors roughly the size of two city buses & the ability to maneuver independently
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 3, 2023
“I think the dereliction of duty begins with this, why not, on Tuesday or Wednesday—you know people are going to see this. At some point, you’re going to have to disclose it. And they probably didn’t want to, because they didn’t want to have their hand forced on canceling this [Secretary of State Antony] Blinken visit,” Rubio said.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said that the president allowed the spy balloon to gather information about U.S. missile sites and that he was never going to inform the American public about it.
“The president has allowed this to go across our most sensitive sites and wasn’t even going to tell the American public if you hadn’t broken the story,” Turner said.
All in all, the Department of Defense (DOD) first detected the balloon over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on Jan. 28, 2023. However, the Pentagon did not inform the American people until the spy balloon was over Montana.
Montana is home to one of the largest U.S. nuclear missile sites, Malmstrom Air Force Base.