Trump denies Pentagon claim China flew balloons over US while in office
Former President Donald Trump flatly denied on Sunday that Chinese balloons had ever entered US airspace during his administration, although the Pentagon said it had happened “at least three times”.
“China had too much respect for ‘TRUMP’ for that to happen, and it NEVER happened. JUST FALSE DISINFORMATION! the former president posted on Truth Social.
Trump also described the Biden administration’s handling of the alleged spy balloon – which the military shot down on Saturday after crossing the continental United States – as “a disgrace”.
“They are only good for election cheating and misinformation,” Trump wrote, in apparent reference to his unsubstantiated claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
Despite Trump’s denial, a senior defense official speaking in the background said in a Pentagon statement on Saturday that Chinese balloons had traveled over the continental United States while Trump was president, albeit briefly. .
Several other current and former Republican officials have also either denied it ever happened or tried to blame Democrats for any past ballooning incidents.
“It’s possible, perhaps, that this first happened during the Obama administration and the military was told at the time that it was no big deal and that they shouldn’t shoot alarm bells on this,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told Fox News on Sunday.
‘It’s not true’, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Fox News.
“Do you remember during the Trump administration, when ground photographers and commercial airline pilots were talking about a spy balloon over the United States that people could look up and see?” Ratcliffe asked. “I don’t remember either, because it didn’t happen.”
The United States said it shot down the balloon off Carolina on Saturday after waiting until it was above water so that falling debris did not pose a threat to those on the ground. President Joe Biden was first alerted to the balloon’s presence on Tuesday, after it flew into US territory from Canadian airspace, US defense and military officials said.
China, which had said the plane was just a civilian weather balloon, called the downing of the balloon “a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice”. China’s foreign ministry said it reserves the right “to take further action in response.”
The Huffington Gt