Feb 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

McConnell demands Biden answers after "so-called classified briefings"

Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday blasted the briefings he's received on the shot-down balloon from China, telling Fox News he'd "never been in briefings where I learned so little."

Why it matters: President Biden is expected to give a speech as soon as Thursday on the balloon and other aerial objects that have been shot down by the U.S. military, multiple media outlets reported.

  • "If the president knows a lot more, it's time for him to tell us all about it — including the American people," McConnell told Fox News co-host Dana Perino.
  • "I hope it goes far beyond what we've been able to glean from these so-called classified briefings that we've had over the last week or so."

The big picture: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have demanded that the White House provide more information related to a balloon and other aircraft that have appeared in U.S. airspace in recent weeks.

  • Republican lawmakers initially criticized Biden for not shooting the ballon down faster. The Department of Defense later said the president ordered the balloon to be shot down after it was clear that American lives would not be harmed.

The bottom line: McConnell upped the criticism on Thursday, expressing his frustration with the White House.

  • "It's perplexing," he said. "We've been in the briefing (but) they don't seem to know anything. So we're anxious to hear what analysis if any, they've been able to achieve on the Chinese balloon. And to just get a sense of what these other three actually were."
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