Cotton suggests Biden administration delayed shooting down balloon to ‘salvage’ Blinken trip to China | The Hill
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Sunday accused President Biden of delaying his decision to take down the suspected Chinese spy balloon to “salvage” Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to China.
“I do believe the administration wanted to salvage the Secretary of State’s trip on Friday night, and they got through Thursday afternoon,” he told Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday.”
Blinken postponed his trip to Beijing on Friday over the “unacceptable”suspected surveillance balloon. He was supposed to leave Friday evening for a visit to China, coming after Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Group of 20 summit in November.
Cotton said that the Chinese balloon should have been shot down before it entered U.S. airspace. He said the Biden administration has “a lot” of explaining to do to the public regarding the incident.
The balloon first entered U.S. airspace in Alaska on Jan. 28, and traveled through Canada before reentering the U.S. through Idaho on Jan. 31. U.S. defense officials confirmed the balloon on Thursday after it was spotted in Montana on Wednesday.
Biden said he ordered the U.S. military to shoot down the balloon “as soon as possible” on Wednesday, but that officials waited until the aircraft was over water to make sure there was no risk on the ground.
“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,” Cotton said. “And that’s dangerous for the American people.”
Chinese surveillance balloon