FIRST ON FOX: Republican lawmakers said Friday that news that the U.S. military shot down a flying object over Alaska is further evidence that President Biden waited too long to order the downing of a Chinese spy balloon that flew across the U.S. mainland last week.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced on Friday the Department of Defense shot down a “high altitude object” flying in territorial waters over Alaska.
“I can confirm that the Department of Defense was tracking a high altitude object over Alaska airspace in the last 24 hours out. The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. Out of an abundance of caution and the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object. And they did. And it came in inside our territorial waters,” Kirby said.
Kirby noted that “Fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command took down the object within the last hour,” adding that the “object” was “much, much smaller than the spy balloon that we took down last Saturday.”
Several lawmakers shared their takes on the “object,” with Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, a Republican, telling Fox News Digital the “Chinese Communist Party has not proven itself trustworthy, and now that a second high altitude object was shot down over our country these rogue objects in our airspace are clearly not a mistake.”
U.S. MILITARY SHOOTS DOWN ‘OBJECT’ FLYING IN TERRITORIAL WATERS OVER ALASKA
“The U.S. should defend our borders and airspace with whatever force necessary,” Lummis said. “I will continue to monitor this situation.”
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., told Fox News Digital that, while “we don’t know the details yet, we do know that Joe Biden’s failed foreign policy has left America much weaker than before he took office.”
“Biden’s refusal to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon sent a message to all of our foreign adversaries that America’s skies are as wide open as our southern border,” the Indiana Senate candidate told Fox News Digital in an exclusive quote.
Freshman Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., a U.S. Army combat veteran, said this “is exactly what the U.S. should have done last time.”
“Why is it only now, when the Admin was caught in a blunder just days before, did we take this strong action,” Mills said. “Either Biden doesn’t know how to play offensive or he’s slow to learn.”
Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican, said in a Friday press release that he “appreciated the senior Defense Department officials who briefed me this morning on the sighting of this latest object.”
“As I’ve been doing for the past week, including in a classified briefing with senior Pentagon officials yesterday, I strongly encouraged the NORTHCOM Commander this morning to shoot down this latest unidentified intrusion into Alaska air space,” Sullivan said. “I commend them for doing so today.”
“As I reiterated with senior Defense Department officials yesterday, we need to reestablish deterrence with regard to Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party which believes they can willfully infiltrate American airspace whenever they want. That has to stop. The best way to do this is through the type of actions that we’ve taken today in Alaska and to publicly reiterate that we will be shooting down any and all unknown aircraft that violate our airspace. We also need to appropriately equip our military in Alaska with the sensors and aircraft needed to detect and, if necessary, destroy everything from slow-moving balloons to hypersonic missiles. Alaska is the frontline of defense for our nation. The past few weeks have made this even more evident.”
Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, tweeted that the shootdown shows that it’s possible for the U.S. military to bring down flying objects before they make it to the mainland.
“So we can shoot down suspicious objects BEFORE they get over our border… Just as I suggested,” Marshall wrote.
Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, shared a link to the news and joked there may be something out of this world involved.
Fox News Digital’s Adam Sabes contributed reporting.