It took more than a week, but President Joe Biden finally ordered the United States Air Force to shoot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon that was been casually floating across our country, and hours after it went down, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) suggested something else the Commander In Chief could “blow up” in defense of our nation.
“Now blow up TikTok,” Gaetz tweeted on Saturday.
Now blow up TikTok
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 5, 2023
It’s not a bad — nor a new — idea.
Former President Donald Trump tried to do just that during his time in the White House.
The wildly popular social media platform was developed by ByteDance, a government-controlled company, and critics have long warned users that the Communist Party of China (CCP) collects personal data from those who post to it. What’s more, critics say, by controlling what users — particularly teens — are able to see, TikTok is a CCP-generated propaganda machine.
As BizPac Review reported at the time, President Trump tried to have it banned.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” he said in August 2020. “I have that authority.”
But, as any adolescent will tell you, TikTok is still alive and well in the States, leading some — even some liberals — to suggest it is a much bigger threat to national security that a big balloon the size of three buses wafting across our military installations.
The Chinese promised they would never use a spy balloon to infiltrate and monitor America. That's what TikTok is for. pic.twitter.com/tGagKVkWd2
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) February 4, 2023
Speaking to the press following the military’s takedown of the balloon off the coast of South Carolina, President Biden said he wanted to shoot it down sooner, but it wasn’t safe.
“I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on Wednesday as soon as possible,” he said on Saturday. “They decided without doing any damage to people on the ground they decided that the best time to do that was when it got over water outside within a 12 mile limit.”
“They successfully took it down and I want to compliment our aviators who did it and we’ll have more to report on a little later,” he added. “I told them to shoot it down on Wednesday. They said to me let’s wait for the safest place to do it.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed the President’s request.
“On Wednesday, President Biden gave his authorization to take down the surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon’s path,” he said, according to Fox News Digital. “After careful analysis, U.S. military commanders had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload.”
Meanwhile, the CCP’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims the balloon was nothing more than a civilian weather balloon, pushed off course by a “force majeure.”
“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course,” an agency spokesperson said on Friday. “The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure. The Chinese side will continue communicating with the US side and properly handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure.”
The ministry called for a “restrained” approach to the incursion.
“The Chinese side has, after verification, repeatedly informed the U.S. side of the civilian nature of the airship and conveyed that its entry into the U.S. due to force majeure was totally unexpected,” the ministry said, according to a separate report from Fox News Digital. “The Chinese side has clearly asked the U.S. side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner.”
After it fell to earth with help from the U.S. Air Force, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling the action an “attack.”
“China strongly disapproves of and protests against the U.S. attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force,” the ministry declared, adding that the U.S. response was an “overreaction.”
“Under such circumstances, the U.S. use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice,” the CCP said. “China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the company concerned, and reserves the right to make further responses if necessary.”
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