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RINO Romney Going After Santos, McCarthy Was Just the Beginning of This Week's Shenanigans

Senate Television via AP

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) had to go and insert himself into the news cycle this week by getting into it with embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY) during Tuesday's State of the Union address, as Leah and I covered. Romney even went after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for not calling on Santos to resign, as other members--including fellow Republicans and fellow New Yorkers--have done. Romney probably thought he was doing the right thing, but by calling Santos a "sick puppy" and an "ass," and going on about how he shouldn't have been there, he walked right into the insults that Santos was able to throw at him. The congressman, for instance, reportedly shot back at Romney that he was an "even bigger a**hole," and tweeted that Romney "wasn't very Mormon" as well as multiple reminders that Romney lost in 2012.

On its own, this would have been newsworthy enough as to why Romney would bother giving Santos that ammunition against him. He also didn't need to go after the Republican Speaker of the House when he's in another chamber entirely, and is himself not in leadership. Romney ought to stay in his lane. McCarthy, for his part, epically responded in the same way that he's responded to members of the press who have asked about Santos, by calling Romney out when it comes to how embattled Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) hasn't resigned. 

But then Romney had to go and defend President Joe Biden's handling of the Chinese spy balloon, something he was all too eager to share with reporters after receiving a classified briefing for senators on Thursday.

The House on Thursday unanimously voted on a resolution from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) to condemn the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the spy balloon, calling out their "brazen violation of United States sovereignty." Bipartisanship is good and even necessary on that front, especially since the resolution does involve many asks of the Biden administration. A bipartisan defense and even support of Biden is not what's needed here, which is what's coming from Romney.

As sycophantic and partisan as Democratic leadership has been, especially when it comes to remarks from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), other Democratic members have been wary of the administration's handling. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is especially looking for more answers and accountability, and has been since we learned about the balloon last Thursday. 

Granted, Romney is getting information that we're not, but so are other members. CNN's Manu Raju, who spoke with members about their reactions, notes Romney's response was "breaking with most Republicans."

This reaction about Biden's handling of the balloon has not been shared by Romney's Republican colleagues in the Senate. In the immediate aftermath, for instance, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) both lambasted the administration during their appearances on various Sunday shows. This was before classified hearings, but it doesn't seem that Republicans have become more confident since then. 

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) mentioned his dissatisfaction to Fox News earlier this week when it came to a briefing he had received, which he claimed was "unspecific, insufficient and backward-looking."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was arguably the least shy of all about how less than pleased she was with what information she received--or more so the lack thereof--during the briefing she attended on Thursday. 

"House briefing on China spy balloon turns tense with Greene comments: ‘I chewed them out,'" read Mychael Schnell's headline for The Hill. Given how the congresswoman was not afraid to express how she really felt during Tuesday's State of the Union address with her reactions during the speech, and that she even walked around with a white balloon, this is hardly surprising. The president himself hardly mentioned the balloon during his address, though when he did it came towards the end of the night and he noteworthily went off script to raise his voice about Xi Jinping, a relationship he has inexplicably thought fit to brag about. 

The congresswoman was also reduced to using expletives, according to Schnell, who spoke to Greene and others:

“I had to wait in line the whole time. I was I think the second to last person, and I chewed them out just like the American people would’ve,” Greene told The Hill. “I tore ‘em to pieces.”

...

One lawmaker who attended the briefing said the exchange between Greene and the officials included profanities.

“When she got to ask questions,” the lawmaker recalled, “she was yelling out saying ‘bullsh*t,’ and, you know, ‘I don’t believe you.’”

“Just screaming and yelling, irrational in my estimation,” the lawmaker added.

Republicans have criticized the administration’s decision to wait to shoot down the balloon until it was over water — which allowed the device to travel through several states across the country. President Biden said he ordered the U.S. military to shoot down the balloon “as soon as possible,”and his national security officials determined that “the best time to do that was when it got over water.”

Greene said she expressed that GOP sentiment during Thursday’s briefing.

“I said the president may be a Democrat but he’s still the president of the United States and they made him look like a fool and made him look weak the week before the State of the Union — I’ve said that publicly, too — by not shooting it down,” Greene recalled. “And I said there was nothing I heard there today that gave me any confidence in what they did.”

“They tried to give me some more excuses and I said, ‘I don’t want to hear more of your excuses,’” Greene said when asked about how others in the room reacted to her time at the microphone. “He said, ‘well it’s a matter of opinion.’ I said ‘no, you’re nothing but excuses and it’s wrong and I’m just telling you, this is how the American people see it and it’s a serious problem.’”

Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said there was “tension in the room” during the briefing.

“There’s some members who just don’t want to believe what they said. They says oh, I don’t believe you, you know, that kind of thing, I don’t trust you,” he said. “So that’s the kind of tension, just the fight back.”

Another lawmaker said “there were people muttering on the side,” described as making quiet comments so people around them would hear that were not made to the panel directly.

And a third said the meeting featured “remarks out loud” over “the course” of the briefing from “more than one” GOP lawmaker.

Bringing this all back to Romney's defense of the Biden administration is that Schnell also includes comments from Democratic members, and they sound a bit similar:

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said officials at Thursday’s briefing explained their decisionmaking process.

“They shared what happened and the decision process that they took in deciding what to do when they did it and believe that by taking it down over the water, they’ll have a chance to recover and learn lessons,” he said.

Meeks called the briefing “very helpful” and “very transparent,” 

“Any question that was asked of them they answered,” he said. “I think it confirms … some of what’s already out in the public domain that at no time was American sovereignty — and everybody’s upset about that — was violated, but America was safe.”

“There’s a determination that … it did not present a threat to the United States. And by tracking it across, knowing that it wasn’t a threat, we learned much more than we would have had we destroyed it earlier,” he added.

Another disturbing update coming out of a Thursday briefing for senators, as Matt just highlighted, is that the United States may have had an indirect role in providing the Western-made parts used to create the spy ballon. 

To recap what else we know about the Biden administration's handling of the Chinese spy balloon, they knew about it days before the American people did. While Biden wanted it shot down sooner, that didn't happen until Saturday, when it had already made its way across the United States, raising questions and concerns about whether commander in chief's wishes were taken seriously enough. 

Before we give Biden too much credit, though, the one-track mind president refused to take questions on Friday morning because he was too busy touting his administration's supposed accomplishments about the economy and refusing to take blame for inflation. When the Pentagon did address the issue later on Friday, they were hesitant to provide much and full of attitude. 

The Biden administration tried to claim it also happened during the Trump administration, which many in the mainstream media blindly ran with, despite how former President Donald Trump and members of his administration have denied this

Speaking of the Pentagon, there was a lack of answers for the press from the Pentagon, including that narrative about the Trump administration, and how dangerous the balloon may or may not have been. Not surprisingly, a Pentagon spokesperson also revealed that China refused to get on the phone for a secure call with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. 

All of this, especially the latter development about the refused phone call, only reinforces how weak the Biden administration is on China, and why Romney has no business defending it.

Romney's shameful views on foreign policy came back to haunt him in another way on Thursday, in comments from Tulsi Gabbard, who served as a representative and ran for president as a Democrat but is now an Independent. As Bonchie at our sister site of RedState covered, Gabbard called Romney out during the day's hearing on the the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. 

Last March, not long after Russia invaded Ukraine, Romney accused Gabbard of "parroting false Russian propaganda" and claimed her "treasonous lies may well cost lives." The tweet from his campaign account is still up as of Thursday evening, almost 11 months later. 

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