President Biden on Monday faced increased calls from lawmakers in both parties to break his silence on the string of high-altitude objects shot down by U.S. forces in recent days and to reassure an anxious American public that has a slew of unanswered questions.
As of Monday morning, there was no indication from the White House that Mr. Biden planned to address the nation about the incidents. The president has no public events planned for the day. The only time the public and press will hear from the White House today is during the daily press briefing.
The last time Mr. Biden directly discussed any of the objects was on Friday, when he hailed a military operation to shoot down an object over Alaska as “a success.”
On Sunday, the U.S. shot down an unidentified object over Lake Huron. It was the third in as many days and the fourth downed object in less than two weeks.
Pressure is mounting for Mr. Biden to explain to the American people what’s going on, as he faces criticism even from some in his own party about his silence on the matter.
Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrat and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said lawmakers and the public deserve to know more.
SEE ALSO: More balloons raise wonder, worry for North Americans
“The American people deserve timely answers about the objects that were shot down over Lake Huron, Alaska, and Canada this weekend,” Mr. Bennet said in a statement. “We need to understand the nature of the threat to our national security. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I expect to be briefed on these incidents early this week.”
Republicans also seized the opportunity to criticize the president, saying he needs to be more forthcoming with the American people.
“How many more unidentified objects in U.S. airspace before the Biden Administration gives us some—ANY—answers?” Rep. Mark Green, Tennessee Republican, wrote on Twitter.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican, echoed similar sentiments.
“4 aircraft have been shot down by the U.S. in the last 8 days. We only know what one of them was, the Chinese balloon. Might be time for the President to give Americans some answers,” he posted on Twitter.
“In just over a week, there have been 4 shoot downs of ‘objects’ over US airspace. Very few answers coming from the Biden Administration. The American people deserve answers,” wrote Carlos Gimenez, Florida Republican, on Twitter.
SEE ALSO: House Dem knocks Biden for not being more ‘forthcoming’ on Chinese spy balloons
Sunday’s shoot-down was the latest in a string of high-profile, bizarre incidents between the U.S. military and unknown objects. U.S. officials say an object was also shot down Friday over Alaska and another one was downed Saturday over Canada.
A high-altitude object, suspected to be a Chinese surveillance balloon, was shot down over the coast of South Carolina earlier this month.
A national security spokesperson said the objects over Canada and Alaska “did not closely resemble and were much smaller than” the alleged Chinese spy balloon.
Officials are currently gathering and analyzing debris from the shot-down objects.
Beijing on Monday pointed a finger at the U.S., saying it has launched more than ten high-altitude balloons in its airspace without permission.
Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, gave no details about the alleged U.S. balloons and did not say if they were surveillance devices or how Beijing handled the situation.
“It is also common for U.S. balloons to illegally enter the airspace of other countries,” Mr. Wang said at a daily briefing. “Since last year, U.S. high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over China’s airspace more than 10 times without the approval of Chinese authorities.”
Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokesperson, denied that the U.S. is operating balloons over China.
“This is the latest example of China scrambling to do damage control. It has repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it sent over the United States was a weather balloon and to this day has failed to offer any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace and the airspace of others,” Ms. Watson told the Associated Press.
— This story is based in part on wire services.