Sunday Talk Shows

Sunday shows preview: Chinese surveillance balloon downed off Carolina coast; Democrats renew calls for police reform

The fatal arrest of Tyre Nichols has Democrats, such as Sen. Cory Booker (left) renewing their calls for police reform. The US also decided on Saturday, Feb. 3, to down a suspected Chinese “spy” balloon, after facing criticism from Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio (Right). (Associated Press Photos)

A Chinese surveillance balloon that spent the week traversing the U.S. and renewed calls for police reform in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death are likely to dominate the Sunday talk shows circuit this weekend.

The “high-altitude surveillance balloon” was first spotted over Montana on Wednesday. U.S. defense officials confirmed its presence on Thursday, noting that they were fairly confident that it belonged to China.

Beijing acknowledged on Friday that the balloon was Chinese and lamented that it had entered U.S. airspace but claimed it was primarily being used for meteorological research. However, U.S. officials have largely rejected this explanation, alleging that the balloon was being used to surveil “strategic sites” in the U.S.

The balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday afternoon, with efforts underway to recover the debris.

Biden said on Saturday that he ordered the balloon be shot down “as soon as possible” after being briefed on the matter on Wednesday but was advised that the “best time to do that was when it got over water” due to safety concerns.

The balloon was reportedly the size of about three school buses and had been traveling around 60,000 feet above the ground.

Since reports of the balloon emerged earlier this week, Republicans have hammered Biden’s response, calling on him to shoot down the airship immediately.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Friday called for the Senate Homeland Security Committee to investigate the Biden administration’s “baffling response” to the Chinese surveillance balloon. 

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, said the situation was “another sign of weakness” for the Biden administration on the international stage and suggested that the balloon contained “bioweapons.”

“Biden should shoot down the Chinese spy balloon immediately,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) added on Thursday. “President Trump would have never tolerated this. President Trump would have never tolerated many things happening to America.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is set to discuss how Congress should respond to the surveillance balloon with ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. He will also make an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) will join CBS’ “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday” respectively this weekend to chat about the balloon, while Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) will discuss the “latest on Chinese surveillance on American soil” with Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, who previously served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will also discuss the national security implications of the surveillance balloon with ABC’s “This Week.”

In the wake of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police, Democrats’ renewed calls for police reform are also likely to be a central topic of discussion on the Sunday shows.

Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was pulled over by Memphis police on Jan. 7 on suspicion of reckless driving. During the traffic stop, several officers brutally beat Nichols, who later died of his injuries.

Five officers involved in Nichols’ death, all of whom are Black, were fired from the police force last month and have since been charged with second-degree murder. A sixth officer, who is white, was fired on Friday after previously being “relieved of duty,” and a seventh officer has been suspended.

Two emergency medical technicians (EMT) were fired from the Memphis Fire Department and have had their licenses suspended by the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Board, after the regulatory board found that they failed to provide Nichols with medical attention for nearly 20 minutes while he laid on the ground.

Nichols’ death has led to a renewed push for policing reform, particularly among Democrats. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.Y.), who is Senate Democrats’ top negotiator on the issue, is set to join CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday to discuss the latest reform effort. He will also make an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Below is the full list of guests scheduled to appear on this week’s Sunday talk shows:

ABC’s “This Week” — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.); retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Buttigieg; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio)

CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Booker; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Reps. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), Zach Nunn (R-Iowa), Summer Lee (D-Pa.) and Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.); Gary Cohn, vice chairman of IBM

CNN’s “State of the Union” — Buttigieg; Rubio; Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)

“Fox News Sunday” — Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.); Jared Bernstein, member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers

Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.); Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.); John Ratcliffe, former Director of National Intelligence

Tags Biden Chinese surveillance balloon Cory Booker Cory Booker Donald Trump James Comer James Comer Josh Hawley Marco Rubio Marco Rubio Marjorie Taylor Greene Marjorie Taylor Greene Mike Gallagher Mike Mullen Mike Mullen police reform President Biden Sunday shows preview Sunday talk shows Sunday talk shows preview Ted Cruz Ted Cruz Tom Cotton Tom Cotton Tyre Nichols

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