Donald Trump claimed China would have ‘never’ sent a spy balloon over the United States on his watch despite the Pentagon claiming it happened three times during his administration.
On Saturday, an alleged ‘spy balloon’ was shot down off the coast of South Carolina by American fighter jets after crossing over multiple U.S. states at a low enough altitude to be seen by the naked eye – alarming millions across the country.
Trump compared the incident and ensuing diplomatic crisis to the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal that his successor, President Joe Biden, presided over in August 2021.
‘The Chinese Balloon situation is a disgrace, just like the Afghanistan horror show, and everything else surrounding the grossly incompetent Biden Administration,’ the former president wrote on his app Truth Social.
‘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.
Donald Trump denied that suspected Chinese spy balloons flew over the US during his administration
One such suspected surveillance device was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday
‘China had too much respect for “TRUMP” for this to have happened, and it NEVER did. JUST FAKE DISINFORMATION!’
The Defense Department said on Saturday that ‘Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration.’
And on Sunday, Fox News reported that at least one balloon flew over parts of Texas and Florida while Trump was in office.
Multiple Trump officials aside from the former president have also disputed the Pentagon’s assessment and relevant media reports.
‘It’s not true,’ former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe flatly told Fox News on Sunday morning.
‘Do you remember during the Trump administration, when photographers on the ground and commercial airline pilots were talking about a spy balloon over the United States that people could look up and see?’
He added, ‘I don’t remember that either. Because it didn’t happen.’
The ex-intelligence official called the balloon that was recently popped ‘unprecedented.’
Trump compared the ensuing diplomatic crisis to the fallout over the US military’s August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan
‘We have never had a circumstance where an adversary has had spy craft over our country our continental United States posing a threat for the better part of a week straight,’ Ratcliffe said.
Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told CNN on Friday that he had never seen such an incident under his watch, adding, ‘I would remember that for sure.’
Richard Grenell, Trump’s former ambassador to Germany, accused the Pentagon of hiding behind anonymous sources.
‘Biden’s DoD is shamelessly using an anonymous source to say that Chinese balloons flew over the US under Trump – and the Trump team allowed it. It is a lie. We never heard this – ever,’ Grenell wrote on Twitter.
‘And shame on the DC media activists who continue to allow the Biden team to be so weak by giving them aid & comfort in their lies and weakness.’
GOP Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida, a military veteran and a close ally of Trump’s in Congress, also suggested that the former president’s officials had no idea of any such ‘spy balloons’ under their tenures.
An F-22 Raptor fighter jet fired a single AIM-9X missile to take down a Chinese spy balloon and its payload, which was equipped with cameras, sensors and radars
‘The Office of the Secretary of Defense has informed my office that several Chinese balloon incidents have happened in the past few years – including over [Florida],’ Waltz stated on Twitter.
‘And according to several Trump Admin national security officials – they were never informed of these intrusions by the Pentagon.’
Biden told reporters on Saturday that he wanted the balloon shot down last Wednesday, but was cautioned against making the order due to the risk of civilians getting hurt by falling debris.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government blasted the U.S. shooting down the balloon as an ‘overreaction.’
‘The U.S. used force to attack our civilian unmanned airship, which is an obvious overreaction,’ said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
‘We express solemn protest against this move by the US side.’
Beijing warned it ‘reserves the right to use necessary means to deal with similar situations.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk