Sen. Rubio agrees President Biden displayed a ‘dereliction of duty’ in not immediately shooting down Chinese spy balloon

Numerous Republicans have been harshly critical of the manner in which President Joe Biden’s administration handled the Chinese spy balloon that transited across the continental United States last week and was only shot down after it had completed its journey and was over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) suggested the entire affair was a “dereliction of Biden’s duty” to protect the American people from enemies and rivals, and that view is apparently shared as well by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Conservative Brief reported.

That charge of President Biden being derelict in his duty, if embraced by all Republicans along with some Democrats, could potentially serve as the basis for a successful impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate to remove him from the White House.

Biden and China’s spy balloon

Sen. Rubio appeared Sunday on CNN‘s “State of the Union” program with host Jake Tapper to discuss his critiques of how the Biden administration handled the Chinese spy balloon that spent several days in clear violation of U.S. airspace and in a direct challenge to U.S. sovereignty.

Rubio, the ranking Republican and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, took particular issue with how long it took the White House to publicly disclose the presence of the Chinese spy balloon when it had certainly been known days earlier that it would traverse the continental U.S., from Idaho and Montana to the Carolinas, in “unprecedented” fashion.

He also expressed his displeasure at the “clear message” sent by China — conveniently timed just prior to President Biden’s impending State of the Union Address and a now-canceled planned visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken — that the U.S. wouldn’t take immediate action against provocations and threats posed by China.

Dereliction of duty?

About midway through the interview, Tapper referenced a tweet from Sen. Scott that said, “The balloon should have been shot down before it crossed the continental United States, not after. We still don’t know what information was collected and where it was sent. This was a dereliction of Biden’s duty, and let’s hope the American people don’t pay a price.”

Asked if he agreed with that “strong accusation,” Sen. Rubio replied, “Well, I think the dereliction of duty begins with this — why not, on Tuesday or Wednesday — you know people are going to see this. At some point, you’re going to have to disclose it. And they probably didn’t want to, because they didn’t want to have their hand forced on canceling this Blinken visit. And so they didn’t — so they didn’t want to have to talk about it.”

The Republican senator from Florida chastised the president for not going on national television to clearly explain to the American people what had happened and what his plans were. “And his failure to do so is — I don’t understand that. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t do that. And that is the beginning of dereliction of duty,” Rubio said. “And the second is, we have to act swiftly on these things. I think that’s part of the — one of the things the Chinese are trying to message.”

“And that is, the U.S. had to see this coming and decided they couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about it early on, and now had to wait until this thing went across the middle of the country,” the senator continued. “And what are we going to do the next time this happens? Are we going to allow it to fly through here again, and shoot it down once it gets to the East Coast?”

“I mean, these are questions the White House needs to answer. And I don’t think these are partisan claims I’m making. I think there would be a broad agreement that we need to know moving forward what our policy is going to be with regards to this,” Rubio added.

It was a mistake to not react with immediate force

For what it is worth, Sen. Rubio had, similar to Sen. Scott, written in a tweet last week that “It was a mistake to not shoot down that Chinese spy balloon when it was over a sparsely populated area.”

In a separate post, he also wrote, “China believes America is a weakened superpower with a reputation of strength that no longer holds true. And their message will now be that if Biden wouldn’t even shoot down a balloon, he isn’t going to do jack if China takes territory from India or Japan or invades Taiwan.”

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