(WASHINGTON) — Under political pressure from Democrats as well as Republicans, President Joe Biden is considering giving a speech in the coming days to address the Chinese spy balloon and the three other shot-down objects, two senior administration officials confirmed ABC News on Wednesday.
The White House is eying the days before Biden departs for his trip to Poland for the potential balloon remarks. He is scheduled to depart for that trip, during which he’ll mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on Monday, Feb. 20.
The deliberations over the speech were first reported by Reuters.
The president has yet to extensively address the Chinese spy balloon shot down on Feb. 4 or the three unidentified objects taken down over North American airspace this past weekend.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged Biden to address the matter more thoroughly.
“The American people need and deserve to know more,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters Tuesday upon exiting a classified briefing for all senators.
“There is a lot of information presented to us this morning that could be told to the American people without any harm to sources or methods or our national security and the American people need to know more so they’ll have more confidence in our national security,” Blumenthal added.
Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Ky., also called on Biden to “get in front of America and tell them firsthand that we’re safe.”
“The administration needs to be more transparent and, by the way, that was a bipartisan view down there,” Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, added.
Biden’s first public comment on the Chinese spy balloon came on the day it was shot down, when he told reporters hours before the mission, “We’re going to take care of it.”
After it was taken down over the Atlantic Ocean off South Carolina, Biden told reporters he ordered the Pentagon shoot the balloon as soon as possible and he complimented the aviators that carried out the operation.
He’s since only addressed it briefly a handful of times, including a passing reference at the State of the Union when he said, “Make no mistake about it, as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country and we did.”
During an interview with Noticias Telemundo anchor Julio Vaqueiro last week, Biden said the balloon “wasn’t a major breach” but was a violation of international law and U.S. airspace.
Biden has tapped national security adviser Jake Sullivan to oversee an interagency review “to study the broader policy implications for detection, analysis, and disposition of unidentified aerial objects that pose either safety or security risks,” White House spokesperson John Kirby said Monday.
That review is expected to be done by the end of this week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday.
When asked whether the shooting down of the three unidentified objects warranted a national address, Jean-Pierre said Biden “takes this very seriously” and noted he’s been briefed multiple times on the incidents.
Kirby also defended the administration Monday amid the silence from Biden on the three successive shootdowns.
“We have been, I think, as transparent as we can be,” Kirby said. “I won’t speak for the president’s personal speaking schedule, but, I mean, he has been deeply engaged in every one of these decisions.”
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