The account further refutes Trump’s claim that no Chinese surveillance balloons operated in U.S. airspace while he was in the White House. And this one hit somewhat close to home for Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago estate is in Palm Beach.
A U.S. military assessment in April noted that a high-altitude balloon from China “drifted past Hawaii and across Florida” in 2019 as it rounded the world at about 65,000 feet, according to CNN.
A suspected Chinese spy balloon flew across the U.S. last week until it was ordered shot down by President Joe Biden over the Atlantic Ocean. Republicans led by Trump criticized the administration for allowing a potential espionage tool to hover over the nation.
It also prompted Trump to boast that Chinese inflatables never flew over the country when he was in charge. But a Pentagon official said this week that Chinese balloons did fly over the continental U.S. when Trump was president, albeit briefly.
China claims the U.S. overreacted by attacking the balloon, which it says was for collecting weather data.