Senator Marco Rubio, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, took to the airwaves this weekend to tell Americans that China knew the balloon that flew over the country would be spotted and that it was intentionally sending a message about America’s decline. Tal Axelrod reports for ABC News:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that despite China’s claims otherwise, they sent a balloon into the U.S. to send a message about the country’s sway across the globe.
“The key part here is they knew exactly what they were doing and there was a message behind it,” Rubio told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
“They understood that it [the balloon] was going to be spotted, they knew the U.S. government would have to reveal it, that people were gonna see it over the sky. And the message they were trying to send is what they believe internally, and that is that the United States is a once-great superpower that’s hollowed out, it’s in decline,” Rubio said.
The balloon’s presence over Montana caused the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a ground stop for the Billings airport on Wednesday. But U.S. officials only announced the vessel was over the country late Thursday, after it had already flown down from Alaska. The military chose to wait to strike the balloon until the risk to civilians was minimized, defense officials have said.
China saw value in that delay, Rubio said on “This Week.”
“The message they’re trying to send the world is, ‘Look, these guys can’t even do anything about a balloon flying over U.S. airspace. How can you possibly count on them if something were to happen in the Indo-Pacific region? … How are they going to come to the aid of Taiwan or stand with the Philippines or Japan or India when the Chinese move on their territory?'” he said.
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