EXCLUSIVE: ‘Shoot It Down’ — Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke Rips Biden Admin For Not Taking Out Chinese Balloon Over His State

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Republican Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke ripped President Joe Biden’s administration for not immediately shooting down the Chinese balloon that is hovering over the state he represents in a Friday interview with the Daily Caller.

Zinke, a former NAVY Seal, weighed in on the news that broke Thursday evening that the Department of Defense is tracking a Chinese surveillance balloon that appears to be collecting data on sensitive sites inside the United States. China on Friday confirmed that the balloon is theirs, as a spokesperson claimed it is a civilian research airship.

The Montana Republican had a very simple solution to getting rid of the Chinese balloon, telling the Caller: “We should have shot it down. It’s embarrassing. Because the US faces clear and present danger with the Chinese and we can’t shoot down a balloon over rural Montana?”

Zinke also mentioned the area in which the balloon was over, saying Roosevelt County is not a populated area at all, so there is no reason the balloon should not be shot down.

Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke (R-MT) speaks to members of the press after a member-elect class photo on the East Front Steps of the U.S. Capitol on November 15, 2022 in Washington, DC. Newly elected House members are in Washington this week for new member orientation. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Roosevelt County, where our family goes back. I think it’s the least populated county in the lower 48. An then how did it get here? It had to go through the Aleutian Chains. And I’ve been on the Aleutian chain, and I can tell there’s not a whole lot out there either,” Zinke said. (RELATED: Pentagon Tracking Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon Flying Over ‘Sensitive’ Sites On American Soil)

As for if Zinke thought this was intentional by the Chinese: “The Chinese did not do this on accident. So to me, it was a poke in the eye. But also, I think it’s inexcusable that we allowed a balloon, unopposed to come in and basically over America. And I’m sensitive to it because it’s over Montana and then they said, well, we evaluated it, but we decided not to on the basis of potential civilian casualties in Roosevelt County, you know, or the Aleutian chain. I don’t buy it,” Zinke added.

President Joe Biden has been briefed about the Chinese surveillance balloon. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recommended against shooting down the balloon, saying they need to protect the people on the ground.