U.S. President Biden’s Remarks in Press Gaggle 5 February

The White House

Hagerstown Regional Airport

Hagerstown, Maryland

3:15 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: On Wednesday, when I was briefed on the balloon, I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down, on Wednesday, as soon as possible. They decided — without doing damage to anyone on — on the ground. They decided that the best time to do that was as it got over water, outside — within our — within the 12-mile limit.

They successfully took it down. And I want to compliment our aviators who did it. And we’ll have more to report on this a little later.

Thank you.

Q Mr. President, what does this say about China? What’s your message to China?

Q You were saying the recommendation from your — was from your national security —

THE PRESIDENT: I told them to shoot it down.

Q On Wednesday?

THE PRESIDENT: On Wednesday.

Q But the recommendation from them —

THE PRESIDENT: They said to me, “Let’s wait till the safest place to do it.”

3:16 P.M. EST

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