For days, former President Donald Trump and his allied Republicans have railed against President Joe Biden for not shooting down a Chinese spy balloon as it made its way across the United States.
According to the Pentagon, the balloon first came into the U.S. space in Alaska at the end of January, but Biden wasn't told about it until several days later. At that point, it was nearing Montana when Biden told the military to shoot it down when safe to do so.
They also announced Sunday that there were at least three incidents of spy balloons flying over the United States under Donald Trump's administration, which his aides have denied. The Pentagon came out with a clarification, saying that it wasn't caught at the time and only after the fact. There was no further elaboration.
Trump then claimed: "The Chinese would never have floated the Blimp ('Balloon') over the United States if I were President!!!"
So, it's unclear if the Pentagon or the White House will be willing to provide evidence or further information on the previous incidents.
But then Trump decided to backtrack on his idea that he would have shot the balloon down immediately.
"Who sends a Billion Dollar blimp, with the most sophisticated equipment in the World, and large enough to hold ten cars or 3 large buses, into a complex pattern over the United States, without it quite possibly being manned, such as the 'manned spacecraft?'" Trump asked.
The Pentagon announced last week that the balloon "has the ability to maneuver” and that it likely wasn't as sophisticated as something like a satellite would be.
Trump then came up with the idea of the negotiations: "China should have been called to ask. If 'no,' shoot it down, if 'yes,' negotiate the greatest deal EVER!"
He didn't elaborate on what that "deal" would be. The comments also come after Trump said he would have shot the balloon down by now.