GOP lawmakers react to Biden’s ‘vastly’ different response to latest airspace intrusion


February 11, 2023 | 1:46 a.m

Several Republican lawmakers noted Friday that President Biden’s decision to shoot down a mysterious object flying off the coast of Alaska indicates a “major change” in policy toward objects entering U.S. airspace.

Biden, 80, was hammered by several GOP lawmakers for his decision last week to hover a Chinese spy balloon over the US mainland for days before ordering it shot down off the coast of South Carolina. Many argued that the balloon should have been taken out once it entered US airspace.

When a smaller object flying at a lower altitude was spotted by the North American Aerospace Defense Command on Friday, Biden ordered the military to shoot it down rather than allow it to advance further into US territory, which an F-22 According to US officials, the jet fired a Sidewinder missile at the vehicle of unspecified origin.

President Biden is facing backlash from the GOP for handling the Chinese balloon that was allowed to hover over the United States for days.

“Biden’s response to foreign instruments flying over our airspace has changed dramatically in a matter of days because of the American people,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said in a tweet Friday, suggesting Biden felt pressured to take down the object much faster this time.

“Your pressure convinced him to no longer let these devices fly freely around our great country. Thanks,” Biggs added.

Rep. Andy Biggs suggested that Biden felt pressured to get the object done much faster this time.

Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.), a U.S. Army combat veteran, told Fox News that Biden’s decision to shoot down the floating, cylindrical, and silver-gray craft on Friday “is exactly what the U.S. had last time.” should do .”

“Why did we only take this decisive action now, when the government was caught up in a mistake just days before,” Mills told the outlet. “Either Biden doesn’t know how to play offense or he’s slow to learn.”

Rep. Cory Mills said President Biden could be “slow learning” because of his lackluster response to the Chinese balloon flying over the United States.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) also agreed with the President’s order to remove the suspicious object before it had a chance to cross the US mainland.

“So we can shoot down suspicious objects BEFORE they cross our border… Just like I suggested,” Marshall said in a tweet.

However, the decision to strike down the latest object left Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), a former Green Beret and member of the House Intelligence, Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, with more questions than answers.

John Kirby, Strategic Communications Coordinator at the National Security Council, speaks during a briefing on the launch of the Chinese balloon on February 10, 2023.
Getty Images

“I think it’s going to raise more policy questions,” Waltz said CNN host Jake Tapper on Friday.

“Well, this one was at 40,000 feet. The President determined that it was a flight safety hazard. So does that mean if this one was at 60-65,000 feet like the first balloon, we would have let it fly further to Canada and possibly the United States? Is that the new criterion now? Any kind of interference with civilian aircraft?” said Walz.

Waltz also questioned whether anything would have been done about last week’s balloon and Friday’s object had citizens not photographed the Chinese spy balloon.

The balloon was dismantled on President Biden’s orders Friday afternoon.

“I still have the question, if there hadn’t been some enterprising photographers in Montana, if we would have taken that more decisive action at all, was it really the public outcry, the violation of our sovereignty and our airspace, that is driving this change in policy?” Waltz said, adding that these types of intrusions “should not be tolerated.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Friday that the president “has no regrets about the way we handled the first balloon.”

He added that at 40,000 feet, the object “poses a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight.”

Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Gen. Pat Ryder denied that congressional criticism influenced the quick decision on the latest object, instead reiterating that its lower altitude posed a greater risk to air travel than the spy balloon flying in flew about 60,000 feet – about twice as high as an average jetliner.

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