Democrat rips Biden over Chinese balloon: ‘They got us on this one’
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) on Tuesday ripped the Biden administration’s decision to delay shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the weekend, saying the delay made the U.S. look weak.
Scott said during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Chinese economic competition that he was concerned about the “fast-growing possibility of a China-led world order,” which he said would include China’s military controlling key global trade routes.
“And that’s why I was concerned, deeply concerned, about this balloon business and why the president allowed this balloon to go all over our country and not blow it down,” Scott said.
“I love the president, I support him, but this move not to blow down that balloon sends a powerful message to both our enemies and our friends,” he added later. “It’s all about data, it’s all about intelligence, it’s all about knowledge, and they got us on this one.”
A suspected Chinese spy balloon captured the nation’s attention last week as it floated from Alaska to the coast of South Carolina before it was destroyed by an F-22 fighter jet off the coast on Saturday.
Despite calls from lawmakers to shoot down the balloon as soon as it was identified, the Biden administration and military experts warned that the debris would create safety concerns on the ground. Biden reportedly ordered for the balloon to be shot down Wednesday, but the military waited until the balloon was over the ocean to destroy it.
Scott isn’t the first Democrat to criticize the Biden administration’s response. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said he’s “demanding answers” after the balloon floated over his state.
“I will be pulling people before my committee to get real answers on how this happened, and how we can prevent it from ever happening again,” Tester, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said in a statement Friday.
Scott’s comments came alongside his concerns about China’s growing threat to the American economy and military, which committee members of both parties echoed.
“I am deeply concerned with the fast-growing possibility of a China-led world order that includes the Chinese military controlling the South Pacific trade routes because the South Pacific trade routes are now the lifeline of the entire global economy,” he said.
Scott and Tester are among the few Democrats who have joined dozens of Republicans in lambasting Biden’s decisionmaking. The House GOP majority is gearing up to investigate and grill Biden officials over the international incident.
The Chinese government also denounced the Biden administration’s decision to shoot down the balloon at all, claiming that it was for civilian use.
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