Republican Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has argued that Joe Biden’s handling of China’s spy balloon last week proves that the Democrat president is incapable of standing up to the Chinese Communist Party.
Before it was shot down, the Pentagon admitted that the balloon was gathering intelligence but didn’t reveal what information it was obtaining.
And while the craft has been downed, collecting all of the debris from the balloon for analysis now seems unlikely as it drifts in the ocean.
Speaking during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told host Shannon Bream that the aircraft was a “trial balloon.”
Cotton says that Biden’s inaction regarding the balloon signaled weakness to “Chinese communists” in Beijing.
As Bream noted at the beginning of the interview, military experts believe the U.S. military was able to track the balloon as traveled over the Pacific Ocean.
It entered U.S. airspace on January 28, but the public wasn’t notified until days later.
As Slay News reported, the Biden admin tried to cover up the balloon but was forced to comment on it after it was reported by the media.
“So, at what point do you have to tell the American public or not?” Bream asked, according to a Fox News transcript.
Cotton went on to say that “what began as a spy balloon has become a trial balloon, testing President Biden’s strength and resolve.
“And unfortunately, the president failed that test.
“And that’s dangerous for the American people.
“The president was paralyzed for an entire week by a balloon.
“We should have shot this balloon down over the Aleutian Islands,” Cotton continued.
“We should have never allowed it to transit the entire continental United States.
“And I think there’s a lot of open questions that the administration needs to answer to Congress on behalf of the American people about why they didn’t.”
The Biden administration should never have let the Chinese spy balloon traverse the entire U.S. The Chinese communists tested Joe Biden, and he failed. pic.twitter.com/F5fiY5imY7
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) February 5, 2023
The Aleutian Islands was the site of the last shoot-down of an enemy aircraft over U.S. airspace in 1942, when a Japanese fighter plane was gunned down on a mission, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
Intercepting the balloon over the Alaskan archipelago would have stopped it from overflying the United States and gathering sensitive information from American targets. But, Cotton said, the president was too afraid of what Xi Jinping and his coterie might do in response.
“I think part is the president’s reluctance to take any action that will be viewed as provocative or confrontational towards the Chinese communists,” Cotton said.
“I would say what’s provocative and confrontation is sending spy balloon all across America.”
And now, Communist China is crowing about the unfairness of it all, according to CNN.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng went to the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Monday to deliver a “solemn representation” over the shooting down of the alleged spy balloon.
Chinese officials, however, swear it was a weather balloon that drifted off course, by 5,000 miles, to Montana.
Yet, as Slay News has reported, a second balloon was spotted above Latin America, casting doubt on China’s claims.
The Pentagon also confirmed that the balloon was maneuverable and had changed course.
“China urges the US not to take further actions that harm China’s interests, and not to escalate or expand the tension… [China] will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely defend the interests and dignity of China, and reserves the right to make further necessary reactions,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Cotton has been a vocal critic of the administration’s handling of the spy balloon.
Last week he tweeted that Secretary of State Antony Blinker “should cancel his trip to China.”
“And President Biden must answer why he has not secured U.S. airspace,” Cotton added.
Secretary Blinken should cancel his trip to China.
And President Biden must answer why he has not secured U.S. airspace.https://t.co/PqwFLCpVhN
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) February 2, 2023
As for the first part, at least Blinken has done that much, according to NPR.
Blinken didn’t give a definite timeline for rescheduling, telling reporters that “what we’re focused right now is on making sure that this ongoing issue is actually a result.
“The first step, as I said, is getting the surveillance asset out of our airspace.”