Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday defended President Biden’s reaction to the flight of a Chinese surveillance balloon across the United States and said he agreed with the president’s decision to shoot it down off the coast of South Carolina.
Romney said he was satisfied with answers he received from senior administration officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, at an all-senators classified briefing on the incident.
“My questions were satisfactorily answered and I believe the administration, the president, our military and our intelligence agencies acted skillfully and with care. At the same time, their capabilities are extraordinarily impressive,” Romney told reporters after the briefing.
Romney said the administration could have done some things differently but noted it’s always easy to second-guess decisions in hindsight.
“Was everything done 100 percent correctly? I can’t imagine that would be the case of almost anything we do,” he said.
Asked if he agreed with the decision to shoot down the balloon, Romney answered: “Yes.”
Romney broke with fellow GOP senators who say the administration should have shot down the balloon as soon as it entered U.S. airspace over Alaska and should have briefed congressional leaders sooner on the potential threat.
“China sent a spy balloon to fly all across America. The Biden administration had a chance to shoot it down over Alaska and they chose to let it spy all across America,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told reporters after the briefing.
Cotton said the balloon could have been equipped with a weapon, which is why he believes the military should have intercepted it immediately.
“We all know it was a spy balloon trying to collect information across the United States. I will say that you don’t know that in advance though,” he said. “That’s why we shouldn’t let Chinese aircraft float on their merry way all across the United States.”