A classified briefing for House lawmakers on the Chinese spy balloon turned tense on Thursday, when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) chastised administration officials for allowing the surveillance device to be destroyed for days.
“I had to wait in line the whole time. I was I think the second to last person, and I chewed them out just like the American people would’ve,” Greene told The Hill. “I tore ‘em to pieces.”
Behind closed doors in the Capitol on Thursday morning, Biden administration officials briefed House members on the weekend’s downing of a Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast, capping off a days-long saga of following the balloon as it floated over the United States.
According to one lawmaker who attended the briefing, Greene and the officials exchanged profanities.
What the Parties Said
“When she got to ask questions,” the lawmaker recalled, “she was yelling out saying ‘bullshit,’ and, you know, ‘I don’t believe you.’ Just screaming and yelling, irrational in my estimation,” the lawmaker added.
Republicans have criticized the administration’s decision to wait until the balloon was over water before shooting it down, allowing the device to travel through several states across the country. President Biden stated that he directed the US military to shoot down the balloon “as soon as possible,” and that “the best time to do that was when it got over water.”
Greene stated that she expressed this Republican sentiment during Thursday’s briefing.
“I said the president may be a Democrat but he’s still the president of the United States and they made him look like a fool and made him look weak the week before the State of the Union — I’ve said that publicly, too — by not shooting it down,” Greene recalled.
“And I said there was nothing I heard there today that gave me any confidence in what they did.”
“They tried to give me some more excuses and I said, ‘I don’t want to hear more of your excuses,’” Greene said when asked about how others in the room reacted to her time at the microphone.
“He said, ‘well it’s a matter of opinion.’ I said ‘no, you’re nothing but excuses and it’s wrong and I’m just telling you, this is how the American people see it and it’s a serious problem.’”
Lawmakers Reported ‘Tension in the Room’
The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.), said there was “tension in the room” during the briefing.
“There’s some members who just don’t want to believe what they said. They says ‘Oh, I don’t believe you,’ you know, that kind of thing, ‘I don’t trust you,’” he said. “So that’s the kind of tension, just the fight back.”