What did Marjorie Taylor Greene say at the House briefing on the China spy balloon?
Republicans have criticised the Biden administration for the week-long delay before shooting down the surveillance device off the coast of South Carolina.
The Chinese spy balloon cast a shadow over President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening and Republican members of Congress have been quick to criticise the White House for not immediately shooting it down.
On Thursday the Biden administration held a classified briefing for lawmakers to outline the steps that had been taken, but not everyone in attendance was satisfied with the reasoning. Controversial GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said that she took the behind-closed-doors opportunity to lay into administration officials, saying: “I tore ‘em to pieces.”
On Thursday evening Greene told The Hill: “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.”
“And I said there was nothing I heard there today that gave me any confidence in what they did,” she added. “They tried to give me some more excuses and I said, ‘I don’t want to hear more of your excuses.’”
Mixed response to China spy balloon briefing
Greene has built a reputation as one of the more outspoken members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of right wing Republican lawmakers. However not everyone in attendance took exception to the officials’ explaination, and at least one lawmaker felt that Greene had overstepped the mark.
One House member told The Hill: “When she got to ask questions, she was yelling out saying ‘bullshit,’ and, you know, ‘I don’t believe you.’”
“Just screaming and yelling, irrational in my estimation,” they added.
However the Republican response to the spy balloon situation has been fairly unified in its critique of the White House’ actions. On Thursday, during a Senate panel investigating the incident, Republican Sen. Steve Daines claimed that the balloon was a test from the Chinese government.
“I think this was, as much as anything, a test of this administration and their response to an invasion of our sovereign airspace,” Daines claimed. “The Biden administration failed by being indecisive.”
In fact Democrat Sen. Jon Tester split from his party to join with GOP lawmakers in demanding answers from the Biden administration. Tester chairs the Senate panel that controls the Pentagon budget, giving him considerable sway over matters of national defence.
“I’m demanding answers from the Biden Administration,” Tester wrote in a statement. “I will be pulling people before my committee to get real answers on how this happened, and how we can prevent it from ever happening again.”
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