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White House Refuses to Address China-Based Threat To Shoot Down Pelosi’s Plane

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The White House is being thoroughly criticized for refusing to directly address a call by a Chinese state media figure to shoot down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plane as well as any escorting U.S. fighters if she tries to visit Taiwan during her current Asia trip.

On Friday, a commentator for the Chinese government-controlled state media “Global Times” made the threatening remarks on Twitter, writing, “If US fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane into Taiwan, it is invasion. The PLA has the right to forcibly dispel Pelosi’s plane and the US fighter jets, including firing warning shots and making tactical movement of obstruction. If ineffective, then shoot them down.”

The tweet was from Hu Xijin, editor of the outlet and former Chinese army officer and member of the ruling Communist Party. It has since been removed by Twitter for violating the platform’s rules.

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the threat on Friday and gave an extremely tame response.

“An official who is associated with Chinese State media is suggesting that if Speaker Pelosi tries to go to Taiwan that her plane could be shot down,” Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy said. “Does the president have a response to that?”

“I know you’re asking specifically about the rhetoric that we’re hearing from China. But as it relates to the speaker’s travels, it’s something that we’re just not going to speak to. Right now, that’s a hypothetical. We’re just not going to speak on her schedule,” Jean-Pierre responded. “As we have said multiple times, we give advice and guidance to any members of Congress where they travel … But again, I’m not going to speak to a hypothetical.”

The unusually tame response to an official threat against the life of a high-ranking elected American official was ripped on social media.

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“Unbelievable: Karine Jean-Pierre says the White House won’t respond to Chinese state media threats to shoot down Nancy Pelosi’s plane should she visit Taiwan. ‘We’re just not going to speak on her schedule.’ Abject, embarrassing weakness,” wrote Heritage Foundation communications director John Cooper in a tweet containing a clip of Jean-Pierre’s response.

“Low as my opinion of the Biden White House is, I’d have expected their response to a question about a hostile foreign power SHOOTING NANCY PELOSI’S PLANE OUT OF THE SKY to be something stronger than ‘if she dies, she dies,’” National Review senior writer Dan McLaughlin added. “They failed at Americaning.”

“There are no words to express how shamefully the Biden White House has caved, catered and capitulated to China,” Stephen Miller, former senior adviser to President Donald Trump, tweeted. “The damage to our power and prestige is colossal.”

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“Uh, sweetheart, you don’t have to speak to her schedule. You can and should speak to the outlandish threats by #China,” Michael D. Brown, former under secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, tweeted. “You don’t even comprehend what you’re saying. You only know what’s in your notes. China knows that, too. And your boss, @POTUS , he’s in the bag for China.”

Matt Gorman, the vice president at the political action group Targeted Victory, also ripped Democrats for not coming to the Speaker’s defense over the threat.

“Wild that Republicans are pretty much the only ones coming out defending Pelosi on this,” he wrote. “Dems are standing around with their hands in their pockets, shrugging.”

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Last week, Hu issued another warning.

“Chinese mainland will not confirm in advance how to counter Pelosi’s provocation either,” He wrote. “But the US and Taiwan authorities will definitely pay a high price for her visit. This will be ultimately a military game, a good show full of suspense.”

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True to form, China staged live-fire naval exercises off the country’s coast on Saturday, no doubt a show of force as much as a diplomatic response to the potential visit.

The drills were held close to the Pingtan islands off Fujian province, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Ships were warned to avoid the area by the Maritime Safety Administration, the Daily Mail added.

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