By The Signal Editorial Board
About two weeks ago, a Chinese spy balloon appeared over the United States.
We watched it fly over the U.S. from Montana to South Carolina for eight days while it collected intelligence from some of our most important military bases and nuclear silos.
During the eight-day period the balloon crossed the U.S., we did not hear a word from President Joe Biden, other than responding, “We’re going to take care of it,” to a reporter’s shouted question after he exited Air Force One and climbed into his waiting car en route to an event in Syracuse.
He made no statement as to what it was, why it was being allowed to cross the country, what danger it presented, if he was talking with China, or what we could expect.
Only after the balloon was finally shot down off the coast of South Carolina did Biden make a cursory statement, saying he had ordered it shot down but yielded to the advice of military leaders who wanted to wait until it was over water to avoid any danger to civilians from falling debris. He also discussed it briefly as part of an interview with “PBS NewsHour.”
It wasn’t much. Essentially, the president has said nothing to a worried nation.
It has been debated, depending on what side of the aisle you are, when that first balloon should have been shot down. Many people think it should have been shot down over Alaska when it was entering our air space, before it crossed over the continental United States and collected secret data. After all, it was tracked on its trip from China well before it entered sensitive U.S. airspace.
Since the first Chinese spy balloon there have been three other objects shot down over the U.S. and Canada.
On Friday, a craft of unknown origin was shot down over frozen water between Canada and Alaska. Over the weekend, two more craft were shot down — one over Canada’s Yukon territory and the fourth object was shot down Sunday over Lake Huron in Michigan.
Unlike the large Chinese spy balloon, which flew at 60,000 feet, these three smaller objects were flying at lower altitudes and were deemed a potential hazard to civilian air traffic.
U.S. officials, in cooperation with Canada, have tweaked the way NORAD’s radar searches for unidentified, slow-moving aircraft in the wake of the spy balloon incident.
After four objects being shot down over North American air space, in a week, still no word from the president.
People are worried. They don’t know what this is, who sent them here or if they pose a threat to us.
We spend $800 billion each year on the military and we have a right to be safe both physically and mentally. We have a right to know basic facts. More importantly, a good leader would know that his people need some kind of an explanation as to what this is, who is behind it and why.
To be clear, we did not vote for this president, and we certainly won’t support him in the next election.
But for the moment, he is our president. We want him to succeed. We want him to protect us and make the right decisions, and communicate those decisions to the populace.
In other words, lead.
But where are you, Joe?
Be a leader. Address the nation. Tell the American people what’s going on. Surely you know what type of craft these are, you know where they are coming from and you have an idea of what they are doing. And if you don’t know, Americans want to hear it from the person at the top: What is being done to address this situation?
Leaders lead by making decisions and then by informing the people what the situation is and what they are doing to address it.
It’s been over two weeks and, other than a low-profile interview and the most brief of hurried, “on-the-run” comments, not a peep out of Biden.
Mr. President, where are you?