HomePoliticsPressure mounts on Biden to break his silence as 'people are freaked...

Pressure mounts on Biden to break his silence as ‘people are freaked out’ over objects shot from sky | CNN Politics


Three airborne objects in North American airspace were shot from the sky by the US military in the span of three days this past weekend at the direction of President Joe Biden. But as Americans confronted an extraordinary series of headlines about those missions, the president offered no explanation – or reassurance – to the public over the weekend.

The Biden White House heads into the new week facing a slew of questions about the objects shot down by US fighter jets in as the last few days: on Sunday, over Lake Huron; on Saturday, over northern Canada, and on Friday, over Alaska. Those three incidents came just days after the US military shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

As of Sunday night, there was no indication from the White House that Biden planned to address the nation about the developments – silence that has begun to worry even allies of the president, according to multiple sources.

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One person familiar with the administration’s deliberations said that as of the weekend, US officials were simply still trying to gain an understanding of what exactly those objects are, including their country or countries of origin, and whether they pose a serious concern. There would be considerable risk to Biden, this person noted, if he stepped in front of the cameras to deliver a speech before he and his top officials had a better grasp of what to make of the objects that were shot down.

Still, the pressure is mounting from some for the president to do just that.

One Democratic congressman, speaking on background to offer a frank assessment, told CNN Sunday night that the silence from Biden was “odd” – particularly given that “people are freaked out.” The lawmaker noted that the American public had notably heard more from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over the weekend than the president himself.

Schumer told ABC News that – based on a briefing he received by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan – the object shot down over Canada was likely another balloon, as was the high-altitude object downed over Alaska on Friday.

One lawmaker who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee told CNN on Monday morning that they had not received any communication from the administration over the weekend about the objects and that they did not expect to get much information until the fallen debris was recovered and assessed.

But the lawmaker said they believe that Biden needs to address the public with what he does know so far about the downed objects – even if that isn’t much.

“Ambiguity is fuel for conspiracy theorists, and I hope information is shared expeditiously,” the lawmaker said. “Something truthful is more important than something reassuring. Trust in government requires communication from government.”

Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that he is looking forward to hearing more from the administration about the situation.

“The American people deserve timely answers about the objects that were shot down over Lake Huron, Alaska, and Canada this weekend,” Bennet said. “We need to understand the nature of the threat to our national security. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I expect to be briefed on these incidents early this week.”

The last time Biden directly addressed any of the recently shot down objects was on Friday, when he answered a question from CNN about the operation to shoot down a high-altitude object over Alaska, saying, “It was a success.”

Biden’s aides believe delivering remarks about the objects without a complete picture of what they are could cause further concern, another person familiar with the matter said. Biden has been deeply engaged behind the scenes, personally ordering each of the objects be shot down.

But his team has cautioned against a public address until at least some preliminary information is learned about the objects.

The president’s public schedule on Monday is empty, and he was expected to receive regular updates on what officials are learning about the objects as they analyze debris gathered after the shoot-downs.

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