Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) tried to blame President Barack Obama after reports that Chinese spy balloons flew over the United States during Donald Trump’s time in the White House.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Cotton said he spoke with several former Trump administration officials and they were not aware of any incidents of suspected Chinese spy balloons.
“Maybe that had happened first during the Obama administration and the military was told at the time that this is no big deal and they shouldn’t raise the alarm bells on it,” Cotton said.
He added: “Maybe what’s even more worrisome it that our senior military knew about these balloons in the past and not informed their civilian superiors during the Trump administration. Or maybe worst of all, did we not know about these balloons in the past and we only learned about them in retrospect by studying historical data? Again, these are all open questions for which the American people deserve answers and we in Congress are going to get those answers.”
Cotton’s remarks come as Republicans are criticizing the Biden administration for not shooting down the Chinese spy balloon sooner as it flew across US airspace this week.
Biden’s initial inclination was to authorize the military to shoot down the balloon after he was briefed on the situation Wednesday. However, top military and defense leaders advised him not to take it down over land.
The military shot down the balloon on Saturday off the coast of South Carolina.
A defense official later revealed that similar Chinese balloons have crossed into the US before, including at least three times during the Trump administration and once that they know about earlier in the Biden administration, according to the Associated Press.
The public was not made aware of the times the Chinese spy balloons entered the US during the Trump administration and it is not clear if any of the balloons were shot down.
[Image by Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]