Hagerstown Regional Airport
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.
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