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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Kudlow
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Kudlow to discuss the Chinese spy balloon, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs), the threat of TikTok, and more. See below for highlights and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble.
On the Chinese spy balloon:
“Agencies within the United States had awareness that this balloon was out there and that it was headed towards a path that would bring it over Alaska and then the continental United States. They were aware of this in advance of it actually doing it. They had an opportunity to shoot it down over international waters. They had an opportunity to shoot it down before it entered U.S. airspace. They chose not to do so.
“The balloon then traveled across the middle of the country, going over some of the most sensitive facilities, including Strategic Command. It was equipped with the payload that traditionally has been associated with collecting signals, taking imagery. And then it exited off the coast of South Carolina where they finally shot it down.
“Those are the facts. That they would pretend otherwise or that they didn’t have time to react or that they didn’t know, that’s just not accurate. And I do think that this lack of transparency, the inability to communicate these things clearly to the American people, is causing unnecessary suspicion. It’s also undermining confidence that these guys know what they’re doing.”
On the downing of three UAPs:
“Last year alone, the ARRO, which is the UAP task force that Congress created, had over 114 cases very similar to this, with the same attributes and characteristics. They remain unexplained, but we have data on them. These things are not new. The difference between those 114 cases and the 500 others that they have cataloged and these three is this is the first time in 65 years of NORAD’s history that we’ve actually scrambled jets and shot anything down over U.S. airspace.
“When you shoot something down over U.S. airspace not once but three times, using missiles, with a country right underneath you, I do think the American people deserve to hear why you did it and what we know so far. I don’t know why it’s taken so long. I don’t even think the president has spoken about this beyond a brief comment I think he made on Friday somewhere.
“The only thing we have been told is what you’ve seen them say publicly, and that is that at 25,000 feet it posed a risk to civilian aviation. But we have had hundreds of these things fly at the same altitude with the same attributes, and none of them were shot down. So I think the real question is why were these shot down and not the ones before? What are we going to do the next time we identify something at 20,000 feet that is slow-moving? Are we going to shoot that down as well?
“Those are important questions that people deserve to hear the answers to. And I think it has to come from the commander-in-chief, who is the only one that can give the order to fire missiles at these things.”
On how current events affect the White House’s image:
“I obviously don’t have a lot of insight into the inner workings of this administration, but I’ve seen nothing demonstrated outwardly to us that shows [President Biden] is in command. I think part of it is the White House is afraid to put him in front of a microphone on something like this. I don’t think they have a lot of confidence in his ability to communicate on something like this. They’re concerned that he might misspeak or might say something that causes further confusion.
“That’s my personal view. But maybe there’s some other reason for it. If there is, they haven’t told us. They have not offered any rationale to us, nor have I heard anything that leads me to believe that the commander-in-chief should not address this.
“He could stand up there and say the exact same thing that John Kirby’s been saying, that the spokesperson for the White House has been saying. But coming from the president, I think that’s important. That’s who should be leading this. The fact that [President Biden isn’t leading this] speaks volumes about his leadership capabilities. And by that I mean the ability to communicate, which is critical to a president in a time of conflict or a time of concern.”
On Beijing’s claim that the U.S. spied on China using balloons:
“If we were flying balloons over China, they would have shot them down. They don’t have to have town hall meetings. They wouldn’t be giving explanations in the media. They report only what the Communist Party allows them to report.
“Do nations spy on each other? Absolutely…. But you just can’t fly over Chinese airspace and not get shot down. It’s as simple as that. So it’s just not true. It’s what they’re spinning.
“I think they’re embarrassed by it to some extent, and they’re making up stories about weather balloons and things like that. They even fired the chief meteorologist for the country. He will be the scapegoat for what happened. I’m sure he landed somewhere else. But these authoritarian governments can say whatever they want. They say silly things.”
On the threat of TikTok:
“The thing about TikTok is not the videos…. The issue is the data. They are collecting data on [50 to 60 million Americans]. So are other social media companies, but this social media company is owned by a Chinese company that, like every company in China, has to do whatever the Chinese Communist Party tells them.
“Twitter and Facebook are not controlled by the U.S. government. We have laws here, and they can go to court, they can fight us. They fight us all the time on things. When it comes to China, if they tell Bytedance, which owns TikTok, I want the data of those 60 million, 70 million Americans and everything you have on them, they have to turn it over or ByteDance will cease to exist, or someone else will take over it.
“Data is the most valuable commodity in the world today. AI doesn’t work without it. Quantum computing doesn’t work without it. Everything is built on data. And TikTok is the greatest data collector out there today, because it’s the fastest growing social media app.
“The other [problem with TikTok] is the ability to further narratives. They can use TikTok to drive videos and promote messages that, in a time of conflict, convince Americans that America shouldn’t defend Taiwan, and they can suppress messages that say the contrary. It’s an extraordinary vulnerability. Unless ByteDance sells that company to a non-Chinese entity, they should not be allowed to operate in the United States.”
On the future of the U.S.-China trade relationship:
“After the Cold War, we thought free trade would guarantee peace and prosperity in the world. And that’s generally been true when it comes to advanced democracies who share values. But the Chinese took advantage of all the benefits of free trade while living by none of its obligations. They’ve driven a historic, export-driven economic expansion at the expense of the American middle class. It has now left us vulnerable, [dependent on Chinese] supply chains and all kinds of basic manufacturing.
“America sends them movies, and they send us finished goods that we rely on for everything from medicine to technology. That needs to be corrected. They’re a mercantilist country. [Trade with China] is a one-way street. This is not a time to be creating additional vulnerabilities [by furthering] our dependence on China and their supply chain control.”