After a weekend of loud, incessant and nonsensical Republican criticism of President Joe Biden for not shooting down the 3 school bus length Chinese spy balloon when it could have hurt the most people, Republicans are sputtering to explain why Trump didn’t know that at least three Chinese balloons transited the U.S. during the Trump administration.
Florida Republican Rep. Mike Waltz was outraged to learn that several Chinese balloon incidents have happened in the past few years and weren’t shot down.
At 10:39 AM · Feb 5, 2023 he tweeted:
“The Office of the Secretary of Defense has informed my office that several Chinese balloon incidents have happened in the past few years – including over FLorida. (sic)
Why weren’t they shot down?”
One minute later:
“And according to several Trump Admin national security officials – they were never informed of these intrusions by the Pentagon.”
Waltz is a big Trump supporter who voted against impeaching the former president for inciting the insurrection, saying “The president loves this country. He doesn’t want violence.”
That is a patently false statement, Trump incited violence on his own behalf in hopes of achieving a self-coup and Trump loves himself and what power can get him way more than he loves this country.
At any rate, this claim that Trump never knew is being hawked across conservative media.
After U.S. intelligence assessed that Chinese spy balloons traveled over the U.S. at least three times during the Trump administration, Fox News wrote: “Trump and his top defense and national security officials told Fox News Digital it never happened and that they were never briefed on any Chinese spy balloons.”
‘It never happened.’ That’s a typical Trump administration claim. A more accurate way to phrase this if it were true is ‘We were not aware that this happened.’ But no, because it’s Trump, it’s denying the possibility and then immediately pivoting to blaming someone else. No one told them. It wasn’t their job to know anything.
It was their job to protect the U.S., so questions need to be asked.
Somehow the folks over in Trumpland seem to think that this makes it all better:
The official told Fox News that “this information was discovered after the [Trump] administration left.”
“They went undetected,” the official told Fox News Digital.
The fact that three balloons went by undetected during the Trump administration isn’t a great defense. At least one of these balloons flew over Florida and Texas.
The claim that this was detected after the Trump administration left suggests that it’s possible someone in Defense knew, and chose not to tell top people in the Trump administration.
The question remains: Why didn’t the Trump administration know about these at least three spy balloons.
The good news is in the DOD news brief is that “U.S. officials took steps to protect against the balloon’s collection of sensitive information, mitigating its intelligence value to the Chinese. The senior defense official said the recovery of the balloon will enable U.S. analysts to examine sensitive Chinese equipment.”
Now to a sprinkling of the absolutely bonkers takes by conservatives: