Kamala Harris Pounded for ‘Incompetent’ and ‘Pathetic Weakness’ in Response To Spy Balloon Fiasco
Republicans are slamming Vice President Kamala Harris for comments downplaying the violation of U.S. airspace by a Chinese balloon earlier this month. In a Politico interview published Wednesday, Harris suggested that the incident was not a serious issue.
“I don’t think so, no,” the vice president said when asked whether the incident would affect U.S.-China relations. “We seek competition, but not conflict or confrontation… Everything that has happened in the last week and a half is, we believe, very consistent with our stated approach.”
Harris continued, saying that she had expressed those same feelings to Chinese President Xi Jinping in November. The vice president’s comments come during extraordinarily high tensions between the U.S. and China.
The invasion of U.S. skies by a Chinese surveillance balloon has left millions across the country feeling unsafe. National security officials have accused the Chinese government of spying on American citizens using the social media app TikTok. And Chinese entities have purchased billions of dollars of U.S. farmland, including near sensitive military sites, causing lawmakers to raise alarm bells.
Republicans say Harris’s comments are tone-deaf in light of mounting threats across the Pacific.
“What an incredibly incompetent thing to say,” Florida Senator Rick Scott tweeted in response to the interview. “The CCP spies on Americans without fear of the repercussions, & [Kamala Harris] is acting like it’s no big deal!? This admin’s appeasement & weak leadership are creating chaos. They need to take a stand for once.”
What an incredibly incompetent thing to say. The CCP spies on Americans without fear of the repercussions, & @KamalaHarris is acting like it's no big deal!?
This admin's appeasement & weak leadership are creating chaos. They need to take a stand for once. https://t.co/GLSe3CMNQZ
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 15, 2023
“The weakness that this administration continues to project has empowered bad actors across the world,” Florida Rep. Byron Donalds said. “You don’t just brush off a clear violation of our sovereignty like it’s nothing. We are the United States of America & we need to start acting like it.”
The weakness that this administration continues to project has empowered bad actors across the world.
You don’t just brush off a clear violation of our sovereignty like it’s nothing.
We are the United States of America & we need to start acting like it.https://t.co/oGgHYGY4pt
— Congressman Byron Donalds (@RepDonaldsPress) February 15, 2023
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, “VP Harris is giving the Chinese Communist Party a pass. This pathetic weakness will only invite more aggression.”
VP Harris is giving the Chinese Communist Party a pass.
This pathetic weakness will only invite more aggression. https://t.co/hPWfm3JqbQ
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) February 15, 2023
“Kamala Harris said the Chinese spy balloon that flew across our country and spied on Americans doesn’t impact our relations with China,” Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn said. “It sounds like the Biden administration won’t be getting tough on Communist China.”
Kamala Harris said the Chinese spy balloon that flew across our country and spied on Americans doesn’t impact our relations with China.
It sounds like the Biden administration won’t be getting tough on Communist China.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) February 15, 2023
Republicans have been fiercely critical of the Biden administration’s response to the Chinese spy balloon. Officials say the balloon first entered airspace over Alaska on Jan. 28 but was not shot down until Feb. 4, after it had been allowed to traverse the United States.
The White House has attempted to defend its decision, saying the balloon was not a threat given its high altitude. Republicans say the refusal to shoot down the balloon immediately is consistent with a soft-on-China approach by the administration.
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Harris is scheduled to depart soon for a security conference in Munich, where Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will join her. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also expected to attend after previously canceling a diplomatic trip to China following the balloon incident.
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