Rubio accuses Biden of 'dereliction of duty' for not disclosing military intel ahead of balloon incident
(NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S. military on Saturday, in a measured response that weighed the risk of danger to people and towns below if it was shot down above the continental United States. But that was not good enough for some members of Congress.

On CNN's "SOTU" Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) attacked President Joe Biden for allowing the balloon to enter U.S. airspace in the first place — even though it entered through Canadian airspace and there was no opportunity to shoot it down beforehand — and suggested the president should have divulged military intelligence ahead of its arrival.

"China knew this was going to be spotted, they flew it over military installations and sensitive sites right across the middle," said Rubio. "Look at the flight path, a diagonal shot through the middle of the continental United States. The message embedded in this is, we can fly a balloon over the airspace of the United States of America and they don't do anything to stop us."

"Your colleague and friend, Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina, accused President Biden of, quote, 'dereliction of duty' by allowing the Chinese spy balloon to fly across the U.S.," said anchor Jake Tapper. "That's a pretty strong accusation. Do you agree with it?"

"Well, I think the dereliction of duty begins with this, why not Tuesday or Wednesday — you know people are going to see it," said Rubio. "They didn't want to have their hand forced on canceling the Blinken visit so they didn't want to have to talk about it. Why didn't the president go on television and basically explain what we're dealing with here and why he's made the decisions he's making and what they intend to do? Once they went public with it, knowing the amount of interest this was going to generate, presidents have the ability to go before a camera, go before the nation and basically explain these things early on. His failure to do so, I don't understand that. I don't understand why he wouldn't do that. That is the beginning of dereliction of duty."

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"The second is, you have to act swiftly on these things," added Rubio. "I think that's part of one of the things the Chinese are trying to message, and that is the U.S. had to see this coming and decided they couldn't or wouldn't do anything about it early on and had to wait until this thing went across the middle of the country. What are we going to do the next time? Allow it to fly through again and shoot it down once it gets to the East Coast?"

Watch the segment below or at this link.

Marco Rubio on suspected Chinese spy balloon