Marco Rubio criticism of Biden on Chinese spy balloons backfires as he’s told they also entered US under Trump
Marco Rubio’s attempt to criticise President Joe Biden’s response to China sending a spy balloon over the US backfired as he was informed on live TV that the Trump administration failed to catch three similar airships.
ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl caught Mr Rubio - who is ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee - in an awkward moment during an interview on Sunday after Mr Biden ordered the balloon to be shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
The Florida lawmaker shared criticism of Mr Biden while apparently ignoring the Pentagon’s announcement on Saturday that three suspected Chinese surveillance balloons travelled over the continental US during Mr Trump’s time in office.
“I recognize that you shoot something out of the sky, that's the size that's the size of three buses, and it lands in the wrong place, it could hurt or harm, kill people or damage infrastructure,” Mr Rubio said on ABC News’s This Week.
“But by the same token, I think that if that was the case, then I think it really would have been helpful for the president of the United States to get on national television and explain to the American people, this is what we're dealing with. This is what I'm gonna do about it. And I and this is why I haven't done it yet. None of that happened.”
Mr Rubio also said that he did not know why the Biden administration waited so long to tell the American people about the balloon.
“I think they did this on purpose to send a message to the world that they can enter American airspace and do so without us being able to do or willing to do much about it,” he said.
In response, Mr Karl pointed out that China sent out spy balloons on three occasions during the Trump presidency.
“We're also told, by the way that this happened three times under the previous president, obviously there were no public notifications there,” Mr Karl said.
At that, Mr Rubio mumbled slightly and fell silent.
The Biden administration has since offered to brief former Trump officials about the Chinese spy balloons that they failed to catch during his administration.
Among the three separate encounters revealed by the Pentagon, one balloon is believed to have travelled over parts of Texas and Florida.
None of the balloons were shot down and the American people were not made aware of the situation.
A fourth balloon also reportedly entered US airspace earlier on in the Biden administration.