Tom Cotton: Spy Aircraft Was "Trial Balloon" That Proves Biden Can't Stand Up to "Chinese Communists"


On Saturday, off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Chinese spy balloon that overflew the United States met its ignominious end — and so did President Joe Biden’s credibility in the face of our adversaries, Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told host Shannon Bream that Biden’s inaction in regards to what he described as a “trial balloon” signaled weakness to “Chinese communists” in Beijing.

As Bream noted at the top of the interview, military experts believe the U.S. military was able to track the balloon as traveled over the Pacific Ocean; it entered U.S. airspace on Jan. 28, but the public wasn’t notified until days later.

“So, at what point do you have to tell the American public or not?” Bream asked, according to a Fox News transcript.

Cotton went on to say that “what began as spy balloon has become a trial balloon, testing President Biden’s strength and resolve.

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“And unfortunately, the president failed that test. And that’s dangerous for the American people. The president was paralyzed for entire week by a balloon.”

“We should have shot this balloon down over the Aleutian Islands,” Cotton continued.

Do you agree with Tom Cotton?

“We should have never allowed it to transit the entire continental United States. And I think there’s a lot of open questions that the administration needs to answer to Congress on behalf of the American people about why they didn’t.”

The Aleutian Islands was the site of the last shoot-down of an enemy aircraft over U.S. airspace in 1942, when a Japanese fighter plane was gunned down on a mission, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.

Intercepting the balloon over the Alaskan archipelago would have stopped it from overflying the United States and gathering sensitive information from American targets. But, Cotton said, the president was too afraid of what Xi Jinping and his coterie might do in response.

“I think part is the president’s reluctance to take any action that will be viewed as provocative or confrontational towards the Chinese communists,” Cotton said. .

“I would say what’s provocative and confrontation is sending spy balloon all across America.”

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And now, the Chinese are crowing about the unfairness of it all; according to CNN, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng went to the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Monday to deliver a “solemn representation” over shooting down the alleged spy balloon, which they swear was a weather balloon.

“China urges the US not to take further actions that harm China’s interests, and not to escalate or expand the tension… [China] will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely defend the interests and dignity of China, and reserves the right to make further necessary reactions,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

And what will the administration do? Likely wish the whole thing goes away — just like they have with other provocations.

As for Cotton, he’s been a vocal critic of the administration’s handling of the spy balloon, tweeting last week that Secretary of State Antony Blinker “should cancel his trip to China.

“And President Biden must answer why he has not secured U.S. airspace,” Cotton continued.

As for the first part, at least Blinken has done that much; according to NPR, he didn’t give a definite timeline for rescheduling, telling reporters that “what we’re focused right now is on making sure that this ongoing issue is actually a result. The first step, as I said, is getting the surveillance asset out of our airspace.”

As for why Biden didn’t order the balloon to be shot down before it traversed U.S. airspace, we’re going to hear a lot of explanations regarding the safety of individuals on the ground as an excuse.

It’s worth noting that Sen. Cotton’s choice of a shootdown location, the Aleutian Islands, is sparsely populated as all get-out. Just sayin’.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture