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Tipsheet

GOP Sen Warns There May Have Been Another Motive for Downing Spy Chinese Balloon

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The Sunday shows were understandably dominated by coverage of the Chinese spy balloon, which was finally shot down on Saturday, after making its way throughout the United States. One such guest included Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who offered during "Fox News Sunday" what he thought the motivations were for the balloon getting shot down.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken was supposed to be leaving on Friday night for his trip to China, which Cotton described as "already an ill-advised trip." As Madeline covered on Friday though, the secretary announced he had postponed the trip. 

"I do believe the administration wanted to salvage the secretary of state's trip on Friday night and they got through Thursday afternoon," Cotton offered. While the secretary did postpone his trip, the timing on that wasn't to Cotton's liking either. "Thankfully, civilians in Montana, in Billings, identified this balloon and blew the whistle on it, and finally, the administration fessed up to the American people. It took another 12 hours before the secretary of state cancelled what was an already an ill-advised trip," he pointed out. 

Cotton had also offered that this served as a "trial balloon, testing President Biden's strength and resolve. 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." Like countless other Republican office holders, the senator highlighted how weak President Joe Biden is with China, which could now have even more far-reaching, consequential effects.

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At best, the way President Joe Biden and his administration handled the balloon can be described as an "embarrassment" and involved "humiliation." In mentioning as much, Cotton emphasized the problem with the timing of shooting it down. "Again, we should have shot this balloon over the Aleutians as opposed to letting it float all across Middle America on its merry way," he insisted to host Shannon Bream. 

As much as anyone may try to claim victory for the United States in how the balloon was shot down, Cotton had a warning with what the Chinese likely came away with. "I mean, the idea that we are going to let this go all across America, that a spy balloon complete its spy mission before we shot it down I'm afraid is an embarrassment to the United States, not an embarrassment to the Chinese communist who are constantly pushing the envelope, constantly probing to see how far they can get away with these maligned actions and, unfortunately, I think they feel that they probably got away with it here," the senator pointed out.

Another noteworthy guest of this week's round of shows included Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who as Leah covered, highlighted while speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" the timing involved in such a "message" that the Chinese sent. Biden will be giving his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. "And the message embedded in this to the world is, 'we can fly a balloon over airspace of the United States of America, and they won't be able to do anything about it to stop us,'" Rubio offered. 

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Sen. Rubio, who as a member of the "Gang of 8" will be briefed on the balloon, though not until Tuesday at the earliest, also appeared on ABC News' "This Week," where he had a warning of his own when offering to host Jonathan Karl what questions he wanted answered.

"Secondarily to it is really an understanding of, you know, what are we going to do about it in the future because I don’t believe this is the last time we're going to see this sort of thing happen. Again, I don't think this is coincidental. 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," Rubio shared.

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