Republican South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson has called for President Joe Biden to resign over his handling of the Chinese spy balloon, which was shot down by the US military off the coast of Mr Wilson’s home state.
“The catastrophic Chinese Spy Balloon spectacle clearly threatened American families from Alaska to my home community in South Carolina and confirms President Biden and Vice President Harris should resign,” Mr Wilson tweeted on Saturday night after the balloon had been taken out of the sky.
“My call for their resignation was valid in August 2021 due to the surrender and disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan, creating a safe haven for terrorists to attack American families. It was not political in 2021, when the succeeding President, then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would have been a Democrat, or now in 2023 with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican,” he went on to claim.
Mr Wilson continued: “It is irrelevant for American families which party is in power because the first criteria of a leader should be their capability, regardless of party, and sadly Biden and Harris are failures. Resignation now is further reinforced as their open border policies have allowed hundreds of identified terrorists into America to commit mass murder.”
“When the domestic attack occurs, Biden and Harris will not be able to adequately respond. Credible leadership is imperative to protect American families,” he concluded.
Mr Wilson gained notoriety in September 2009 when he shouted “you lie” at President Barack Obama during his first speech before a joint session of Congress.
“There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants,” Mr Obama said at the time. “This too is false.”
“The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” he added amid groans from the Republicans.
“You lie!” Mr Wilson shouted, loudly enough for everyone to hear.
“That’s not true,” Mr Obama responded and continued with his speech.
The Defence Department has said that Chinese balloons entered US airspace at least three times during the administration.
“The balloon did not pose a military or physical threat. Still, its intrusion into American airspace over several days was an unacceptable violation of US sovereignty,” the department’s website states, noting that an official said that “Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration”.
President Joe Biden said on Saturday afternoon that he “ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on Wednesday as soon as possible”.
He added that military leaders chose to wait until the balloon was above water as it was “the safest place to do it”.
“They successfully took it down and I want to complement our aviators who did it,” he said after getting off Air Force One on his way to Camp David, according to the Associated Press.