United States Senator Marsha Blackburn on China Balloon: ‘The Chinese Communist Party Sees Joe Biden as Weak’

Feb 13, 2023

Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed United States Senator Marsha Blackburn to the newsmaker line to comment on the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States, the Biden family compromise, and economic effects of China.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, Senator Marsha Blackburn, the senior senator from Tennessee. Good morning, Senator Blackburn.

Blackburn: Good morning! It’s good to be with you, and always good to have a conversation with Crom.

Carmichael: Well, you’re very kind. (Blackburn chuckles)

Leahy: Senator Blackburn, it’s another day. Has there been a separate sighting of some unknown object or balloon over Alaska or Canada or the United States recently, like today?

Blackburn: (Laughs) We have not been informed that there has been another sighting this morning, but it appears that every day they are finding more balloons. And this calls into question the coordination between the intel community, and the Department of Defense, and how closely they are watching our skies.

Here is what we do know, is that the Chinese Communist Party is intent on global domination by the time we get to the midpoint of this century. Anybody that doubts that should read Michael Pillsbury’s book The 100 Year Marathon.

The Chinese Communist Party sees this as the China century, and because of that, they’ve been very aggressive in their surveillance. You look at what they’re doing with TikTok and how that is affecting our youth and young adults. You look at the anguish that was caused to young people by the pandemic. We still do not know the origins of the pandemic. There are so many questions about the vaccine and the dangers this has caused to young people. And you look at the Chinese Confucius Institute that fortunately we’ve been able to remove from most of our universities and the Confucius classrooms that have been in many K12 schools. This is part of their propaganda, and so we know where they’re headed. What we need is for this administration, this Department of Defense, to get serious about this and to realize China is not a competitor. As the President said just a couple of weeks ago, China is an adversary. They want to dominate us. And it is not the Chinese people. It is the Chinese Communist Party.

Carmichael: What do you make of all of these balloons and these other things? I guess we’re shooting down something that I don’t know if it’s buoyed by a balloon, but I think there have been like three or four shootdowns in the last 10 days without revealing anything that’s classified.

Leahy: Four.

Blackburn: Four.

Carmichael: Do we know anything? And what do we make of something that’s kind of been going on obviously for quite some time? And now all of a sudden, the Biden administration is reacting.

Blackburn: And they are only reacting to this because a private citizen, saw something and said something and put a photograph up on a website there in Montana and said, who knows something about this? Now, bear in mind, this administration had said nothing until a citizen who was a reporter and a pilot took a picture, put it on the website, and said, what do you know about this?

This administration would not have come forward. Anthony Blinken would not have canceled his trip to China without this information. So the period of time this has been going on, we don’t know how many they have surveilled. We do not know. We have had a briefing, a classified briefing as you said.

I had a lot of questions that came out of that. Principally, why did they let this first balloon go when they spotted it and started following it off the coast of Alaska? And then they let it come back into Montana and then let it just kind of trapes across the country and then decided to shoot it down after it went to South Carolina.

But Crom, how did they know it was not going to stall out over one of our major cities and just sit there and collect intelligence? Why did they not choose to bring it down safely in Alaska when they could have done that?

Carmichael: Yes, there just seems to me to be more deal with the facts that we know, which are not very many, but they just beg many, many other questions. And it just almost appears to me that the Biden administration and as Robert Gates pointed out, Biden hasn’t made a good foreign policy decision in his entire career. He’s always been on the wrong side of every foreign policy decision and I think he sees the Communist Chinese Party almost as an organization he would like to emulate.

Blackburn: And one of the things that are of tremendous concern to me is the Biden family compromise. Why did they let this thing go and why is it that as you two know because you follow everything that is happening every day and you’re on top of it, you know that they could have made that choice to dismantle that balloon.

They could have decided that they were going to stand up to this. But the bottom line, the Chinese Communist Party sees Joe Biden as weak. They know he is not going to come after them. Whether it is that he is compromised, whether it is as Bob Gates said and as you just said, he can’t make the right decision on foreign policy because he is given more to appeasing than he is to showing strength.

I tell you this much, this would never have happened with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo because China would have known, Xi Jinping would have known there would be hell to pay if they did this because they didn’t know what Donald Trump was going to do from one day to the next day.

And they knew that Mike Pompeo was not going to put up with this. And because of this and because of the fact that President Trump and Secretary Pompeo repeatedly held them to account and pushed the issues around the COVID vaccine and put sanctions on them and dealt with them on tariffs and trade, they knew that they could not push this.

Now, when you look at the economic side of this, you’re looking at a trade deficit that is the largest that we have had. China imported more stuff to the United States last year than ever, and we have a bigger trade deficit than ever. And that is because of the policies of this administration.

When you look at great power competition, you look at the Chinese Communist Party, you look at what they’re doing over. The United States had a balloon in Latin America. You had the balloon up in Canada. They’re surveilling people.

They’re practicing debt diplomacy. They are bullying Taiwan and all of the Pacific island nations. People are begging for our help and this administration is sitting on their hands and trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Marsha Blackburn” by Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Sandy Torchon.