Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
The animus between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden has become so granular that the two now can’t agree on when Chinese spy balloons started floating over U.S. airspace.
Last week, as reported by FISM, the Department of Defense reported that the spy balloon that floated from Montana to the Carolinas before being shot down had been entering sovereign American land for years.
On Sunday, Trump said that Biden was the only president to have experienced such a phenomenon.
“The Chinese would never have floated the Blimp (“Balloon”) over the United States if I were President,” Trump posted on Truth Social. (NOTE: parenthetical was his, not mine.)
However, DOD officials insist that a Chinese dirigible had entered U.S. airspace on three occasions during Trump’s tenure.
“[The People’s Republic of China] government surveillance balloons transited the continental United States briefly at least three times during the prior administration and once that we know of at the beginning of this administration but never for this duration of time,” a senior defense official said during a briefing. “We spoke directly with Chinese officials through multiple channels, but rather than address their intrusion into our airspace, the PRC put out an explanation that lacked any credibility.”
This statement prompted Trump to post a lengthy response on Truth Social in which he labeled the DOD’s claims as “disinformation” and indicated China respected him — the former president seemed to be referring to fear-based respect — enough to know better.
“The Chinese Balloon situation is a disgrace, just like the Afghanistan horror show, and everything else surrounding the grossly incompetent Biden Administration,” Trump wrote. “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. China had too much respect for ‘TRUMP’ for this to have happened, and it NEVER did. JUST FAKE DISINFORMATION!”
Trump also spoke to Fox News about the matter and said, “It never happened with us under the Trump administration and if it did, we would have shot it down immediately. It’s disinformation.”
During an appearance on CNN, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the number of times Chinese spy balloons entered U.S. airspace was far less consequential than the amount of time any balloon stayed there.
“The existence of the balloons is not a mystery to people,” Rubio said.
What we’ve never seen, what is unprecedented, is a balloon flight that entered over Idaho and flew over Montana over all of these sensitive military installations, Air Force bases, ICBM fields, right across the middle of the country. That has never happened before. That is unprecedented. We’ve never seen this, so this is no comparison to anything that may have happened up to this point.
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) February 5, 2023
While arguing between the Trump and Biden camps, as well as among their political and media allies, is nothing new, this might be the rare instance where both parties were correct in their assertions when they made them.
It appears Biden has been briefed that balloons were an issue under Trump, but it is also apparent that Trump was never told the balloons existed while serving as president.
“This information was discovered after the prior administration left,” a senior defense official said. “The intelligence community is prepared to offer key officials from the Trump administration briefings on [China’s] surveillance program.”
As of this writing, Trump had not commented on if he would accept the offer of a post-hoc briefing.
As of Sunday, the American military was still searching for the remnants of the balloon, which fell into the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of South Carolina.