New revelations from the Defense Department have substantially undercut the narrative from Republicans like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Donald Trump himself in response to a balloon believed to be used in espionage operations for the Chinese government showing up over the United States.
A similar incident unfolded at least three times during the Trump administration, per the department. On President Joe Biden’s order, the military eventually shot down the latest balloon once it reached an area earlier this weekend in which the falling debris would likely no longer pose any threat to people on land. It’s unclear the military took any similar action on any of the occasions a similar balloon drifted over U.S. territory with Trump in charge, although a series of initial revelations didn’t confirm those balloons’ precise trajectories.
“The balloon did not pose a military or physical threat,” an article from the Defense Department says. “Still its intrusion into American airspace over several days was an unacceptable violation of U.S. sovereignty. The official said Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration.” The official providing these updates was not identified by name by the department. Instead, the figure was simply referred to as a senior defense official.
Supporting the idea the feds took no similar action with Trump, Trump denied on his social media site Truth Social this weekend that a balloon similar in origin and purpose ever similarly showed up over the U.S. when he was president, although Trump’s denials of just about anything are hardly worth much, considering the pace at which he lies. “The Chinese Balloon situation is a disgrace, just like the Afghanistan horror show, and everything else surrounding the grossly incompetent Biden Administration,” Trump claimed Sunday. “They are only good at cheating in elections, and disinformation — and now they are putting out that a Balloon was put up by China during the Trump Administration, in order to take the “heat” off the slow moving Biden fools. China had too much respect for “TRUMP” for this to have happened, and it NEVER did. JUST FAKE DISINFORMATION!”
Where did Trump get the idea he is some kind of force with which to be reckoned in global affairs? Did he forget when attendees at the United Nations laughed in his face? More relevantly, he is directly accusing the U.S. Defense Department of lying to the American people, encouraging what could be the same distrust of and animosity towards that arm of the U.S. government that he has helped shape towards those who run elections who he’s claimed were connected to imaginary voter fraud. Isolated instances of a problem don’t equate to something more sweeping just because Trump said so.
In the lead-up to the military taking down the recent balloon, Republican political figures like Greene pushed the idea of just shooting up into the sky at it. The very high altitude at which the balloon was situated made such a prospect especially ridiculous, not to mention the fact bullets fired randomly into the air at something potentially over 11 miles away have to come down eventually!