Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene carried a white balloon ahead of the State of the Union
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene carried a white balloon around Capitol Hill ahead of the State of the Union on Tuesday — a stunt meant to express concern about the suspected Chinese spy balloon that was spotted over the United States and shot down in the Atlantic Ocean last week.
"It's just an innocent balloon," the Georgia Republican captioned in a video on Twitter.
In another video posted by conservative news network RSBN, Greene made unsubstantiated claims about the balloon.
"President Biden isn't afraid of balloons, he allowed China to traverse the United States with a Chinese spy balloon, gather intel from all of our military bases, our food factories, our cities, our critical infrastructure, send it back to China, before shooting it down on February 4," she said.
Greene expressed concern about the Biden administration's handling of the balloon.
"The president owes the American people an apology, he owes an explanation, and he owes the American people a very serious plan on how he's going to address China in the future," she told RSBN.
While many people speculated Greene would bring the white balloon to the State of the Union address, she arrived without the prop in hand. CBS News has reached out to a representative for Greene and is awaiting response.
The balloon first entered U.S. airspace on Jan. 28, and flew over or near four military sites in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Missouri, before being shot down on Feb. 4.
China acknowledged the balloon belonged to Beijing, but claimed it was a civilian device "used for scientific research such as meteorology."
However, a senior defense official told CBS News that the Defense Department was "confident" that it was a Chinese surveillance balloon.
While Greene expressed concern that Biden did not act with enough urgency in regards to the balloon, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Saturday afternoon that the president had given his authorization on Wednesday "to take down the surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon's path."
On Saturday, balloon was shot down off the South Carolina coast with a single air-to-air missile launched from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. The Chinese foreign ministry said the decision to shoot it down was "a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice."
The balloon landed off the coast of South Carolina and was recovered in the Atlantic Ocean by U.S. Navy personnel on Sunday.
Ahead of the president's address, several lawmakers — some who have previously aligned with Greene – poked fun at her balloon. When asked if she was bringing anything symbolic to the State of the Union, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) replied: "Well, I won't be bringing a white helium balloon, if that's what you're asking," reported The Hill's Emily Brooks.
Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman of New Jersey shared a photo of Greene and her balloon on Twitter, writing: "She has to do something with all that hot air."
Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York also shared a photo of Greene and her balloon, asking: "Is that a space laser?"
Ahead of the State of the Union, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that members of Congress will not take part in "childish games" during the address.
"We have a code of ethics of how we should portray ourselves, but also do our jobs, and that's exactly what we'll do," McCarthy said. "We're not going to be doing childish games tearing up a speech."
During former President Donald Trump's final State of the Union, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously tore up a copy of his speech she had been provided.
While Biden spoke about the economy during his address, many Republicans booed, including Greene.
"Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage...unless I agree to their economic plans," he said. "All of you at home should know what those plans are. Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and social security to sunset."
Greene was seen shouting "liar" at the president.
"Anybody who doubts it, contact my office. I will give you a copy of the proposal," Biden said as booing filled the House chamber.
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