A handful of Republican lawmakers are calling on President Biden to quickly shoot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon over Montana.
“President Biden should stop coddling and appeasing the Chinese communists,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Neb., tweeted Friday. “Bring the balloon down now and exploit its tech package, which could be an intelligence bonanza.”
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“Shoot. It. Down,” Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., tweeted Thursday. “The Chinese spy balloon is clear provocation. In Montana we do not bow. We shoot it down. Take the shot.”
“Biden should shoot down the Chinese spy balloon immediately,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., tweeted Thursday. “President Trump would have never tolerated this. President Trump would have never tolerated many things happening to America.”
Those comments follow reports that Biden followed guidance not to shoot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon because his administration does not view it as an immediate military threat. Another factor in the decision is the possibility of debris harming civilians and destroying property as it falls from the sky, according to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
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Chinese officials said they are investigating the balloon and advised both countries to proceed “calmly and carefully” as information is revealed.
“China is a responsible country and has always strictly abided by international laws, and China has no intention to violate the territory and airspace of any sovereign countries,” China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Friday. “As for the balloon, as I’ve mentioned just now, we are looking into and verifying the situation and hope that both sides can handle this together calmly and carefully.”
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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy did not go as far as some of his members to call for Biden to shoot down the balloon, but he did request a meeting of the Gang of Eight, which includes the top two leaders and intelligence committee members from both parties in each chamber.
“China’s brazen disregard for U.S. sovereignty is a destabilizing action that must be addressed, and President Biden cannot be silent,” McCarthy tweeted Thursday. “I am requesting a Gang of Eight briefing.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to Beijing next week for a two-day trip. The White House has not announced a change of plans in response to the spy balloon.
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