Sen Daines rails Biden’s handling of major issues, says he left Chinese balloon briefing with ‘more questions’
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is fed up with President Joe Biden “leading from behind,” citing the administration’s handling of the southern border, fentanyl crisis and the Chinese spy balloon as just a few of the reasons he is calling for new leadership in 2024.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Daines explained where he believes the Biden administration went wrong on major issues that could help him take back the Senate majority next cycle as National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chair.
Daines commented on the Department of Defense classified Senate briefing about the Chinese spy balloon and multiple unidentified objects shot down in U.S. airspace, a meeting that only raised more concerns for him.
“After I left that classified briefing on the Chinese spy balloon, I left with more questions, not more answers,” Daines stated in an exclusive interview on Monday. “It’s outrageous to think that it was Montanans, everyday Montanans, who actually first let the world know this spy balloon was over America.”
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The Chinese surveillance balloon was first spotted on Feb. 1 by a Montana resident who notified a local newspaper. It was only then that Daines was made aware of the possible national security threat hovering over his state, rather than hearing from the Pentagon or the Biden administration.
“What’s shocking is that spy balloon went right over Montana’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. That’s a weapon of mass destruction that ensures we keep the world and America safe. The president was indecisive. He didn’t know what to do. I think had he wanted it his way, he would let that balloon float right across the country like a Taylor Swift concert tour or something going coast to coast,” he said.
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Daines also criticized Biden for his unexpected secret visit to Kyiv, Ukraine on Monday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, where he announced an additional $500 million in funding to the country as it fights Russia’s invasion.
“It’s an example of President Biden leading from behind. I think almost every world leader has been to Ukraine. It took this administration a year, nearly, before he finally made a visit, when every European leader and leaders around the world have visited Ukraine. Once again, it’s his indecisiveness, his lack of leadership, that actually emboldens our enemies.”
Biden’s track record will continue to push Democrats away from the president, according to Daines, as the 2024 election cycle approaches. Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have announced they will not seek re-election when their terms end next cycle, raising the question of whether there will be more retirements as Senate Democrats face a daunting 2024 map.
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“Well, I think each Democratic senator who decides to run knows to run away from Joe Biden. So I think there’s a movement here of retirements. They might as well retire on their terms right now, or face their citizens in their states and try to defend what they have done. Complicit with Joe Biden at record level. Inflation, a wide open southern border, record levels of crime, disastrous energy policies, and finally, just disastrous foreign policy. Joe Biden has made America much less safe, both domestically and on the world stage. “
As Daines sets his sights on capturing the Senate majority for Republicans in 2024, the NRSC chair revealed what issues he believes will be top of mind going into 2024.
“As I travel around Montana and hear directly from the people that I get to serve every day in Washington, it’s the high cost of gas, it’s the high cost of groceries, it’s the fentanyl that’s flooding across our southern border because of Mexican cartels and directly related to Joe Biden’s wide open border policies. That’s having a direct effect on Montanans. We’re a northern border state, but we have a southern border crisis. What’s happening here in Montana is also happening in these states that Democrats have to defend in the 2024 Senate election.”
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas have said at times that the border is secure, a statement Daines tells Fox is “just not true.”
“It’s an outrageous statement,” Daines said of the Biden administration continuously claiming that the southern border is secure. “It’s right up there with the Chinese government, the communist Chinese spy balloon was a weather balloon. It’s just not true. They’re not telling the truth.”
“Over 5 million illegal apprehensions since Biden took office. The flood of fentanyl and meth and other drugs come across the border. The Mexican cartels, sadly, have command and control over the border, this administration is not,” Daines said.
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In early February, Daines was locked out of Twitter over a photo of him and his wife hunting in Montana was deemed “adult and graphic content.” While CEO Elon Musk reinstated the senator after hearing of the ban, it raised concerns over conservative censorship in the media.
“With no warning. At 11 p.m. two weeks ago, our Twitter site was taken down because of so-called ‘adult and graphic content.’ It’s absolutely outrageous. And I want to thank Elon Musk, who intervened 13 hours later,” he said of the suspension. “Basically what he said is we can’t let San Francisco elites dictate the values for the rest of the world… I just hope those San Francisco elites would maybe be a little more inclusive and accept the diversity of the way we live and level it out here in Montana.”
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