Montanans asked if they could ‘take a shot’ at Chinese spy balloon, Steve Daines says

Daily Caller News Foundation

Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana said Friday that Montanans asked his office if they could “take a shot” at a Chinese spy balloon over the state.

“This has been a tremendous embarrassment for the United States of America. It’s one more example of the weakness of the Biden administration on the global stage,” Daines told “The Story” host Martha MacCallum. “Their lack of response, the show of weakness is provoking, is provoking our adversaries and making America weaker. I’ll tell you how we found out about it, we had Montanans calling our office saying they saw a balloon in the sky. In fact, a lot of Montanans said, ‘Is it okay if I take a shot at it?’”

The Department of Defense (DOD) announced Thursday that it had tracked the Chinese balloon as it crossed over Montana, drawing criticism from former Trump administration officials like Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, a former Secretary of the Interior, who called on the Biden administration to shoot down the balloon.


“Why was this spy balloon over Montana? Because we are proud of the fact that we have the Malmstrom Air Force Base,” Daines said, referring to the home of the 341st Missile Wing. “We have intercontinental ballistic missiles spread across north central Montana. These are the most powerful weapon known to mankind.”

China claimed that the balloon was a civilian meteorological research platform that went astray. The DOD said it decided not to shoot down the balloon due to the risk of civilian casualties during a Thursday background briefing, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

MacCallum asked Daines about Montanans asking if they could take a shot at the Chinese balloon.

“We’re not going to suggest they do it,” Daines said, citing the altitude of the balloon.

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