Sen. Cotton: 'The American People Deserve an Explanation From the President'

( – Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said he does not know what those three small, unidentified airborne objects are that the U.S. shot down this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“I don’t want to hazard a guess,” he told Fox News Monday night. “We have a briefing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning from the administration,” Cotton said, adding that the American people should get a briefing, too:

“The American people deserve an explanation from the president about exactly what he thinks these objects were and why we shot them down just a week after letting an obvious Chinese spy balloon fly all across America.

“I mean, (Canadian Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau gave that to the people of Canada last week when an American aircraft downed one of these objects over Canada.

“Surely, surely Justin Trudeau is not a more decisive and stronger leader than the American president. I hope that’s not the world in which we’re living. The president needs to come forward on camera speaking directly to the American people, stop sending out mouth pieces and anonymous sources.

“You know, it reminds me of the time when Ronald Reagan spoke to the American people just days after Soviet Russia shot down a Korean airlines flight; or George H. W. Bush spoke to the American people just a couple days after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

“At these kind of moments the American people deserve to hear from the president, not from mouth pieces and press secretaries.”

Cotton said there’s no doubt about the first, enormous balloon that was shot down after traversing the continental United States:

“China sent a balloon to spy on America,” he said.

“The administration identified it before it entered the Alaskan air space. President Biden had a chance to shoot it down, he chose not to. The balloon then flew all across America, spying on America.

“I think part of what we see now is the president and his political handlers worried about the criticism they receive for that failure, but really that’s just one in a string of failures going back to the beginning of this administration that has projected weakness and intimidation on the part of Joe Biden towards the Chinese communists.

“Remember, after the collapse of Afghanistan, Chinese propaganda outlets were talking about an Afghan effect. Unfortunately, I think we may see another echo in these objects of the so-called Afghan effect.”

Cotton said he doesn’t expect to learn much from today’s briefing by administration officials.


“That’s why it’s so important that Joe Biden himself speak directly on camera to the American people,” he said:

“I do believe, though, under the circumstances, it’s better to err on the side of caution and assume that these (balloons) are adversaries, either China or Russia in all likelihood, probing our air defenses, even if they’re not trying to collect intelligence information on the United States, even if they don’t represent a direct military effect, they can still probe our air defenses and see what kind of early warning systems we have in place.

“Now maybe they’ll turn out to be weather balloons or research balloons or balloons that got away from a used car lot. But when you’re dealing with life-and-death matters of national security it’s always safest to err on the side of caution and think that your enemies like China are up to no good.”

At Monday’s White House press briefing, a reporter asked National Security Council spokesman John Kirby why President Biden doesn’t directly address the American people about such an “unprecedented” situation:

“I have — we have been, I think, as transparent as we can be,” Kirby said.

“I won’t speak for the President’s personal speaking schedule.  But, I mean, he has been deeply engaged in every one of these decisions.  He has been kept informed, including as of this morning, on what’s going on with recovery efforts. 

“And he’s very much staying on top of the issue and directing his team to make sure we are properly consulting and briefing not just members of Congress, but state leaders as well.  And, of course, you know, we’re also doing what we can in the public sphere.”


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