The senator from Utah spoke Thursday as he was leaving a classified briefing on the balloon that flew over the U.S. for four days before it was shot down Saturday off the coast of South Carolina.
“I believe that the administration, the president, our military and intelligence agencies acted skillfully and with care,” said Romney, according to CNN’s Manu Raju. “At the same time, their capabilities are extraordinarily impressive,” the senator added.
“Was everything done 100% correctly? I can’t imagine that would be the case of almost anything we do. But I came away [from the briefing] more confident,” Romney told reporters.
Asked if he agreed with the decision to wait to shoot down the balloon until it was over the ocean, where it was less likely to pose a risk to people, he responded: “Yes,” Raju reported.
Romney’s position was a departure from other Republicans who have spoken out about the spy balloon and who believed the balloon should have been blown out of the sky as soon as it was spotted.
GOP criticism of Biden’s approach, however, became more muted last weekend after the Defense Department reported that three previous suspected Chinese spy balloons has crossed in the U.S. while Donald Trump was president.
Romney was also pressed Thursday for his reaction to criticism by serial fabulist Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) that the senator’s attacks on him at the State of the Union address were “not very Mormon,” referring to Romney’s religion.
“I don’t have any comment on that,” Romney told Raju. “I’ve said all I’m going to say on the topic.”Romney and Santos had a heated conversation in the House ahead of Biden’s speech on Tuesday. Romney reportedly told Santos, who’s under investigation for a long string of lies, that he shouldn’t be there. Santos had arrived early to get a coveted center aisle seat, where lawmakers often stand at the event to have the opportunity to shake hands with the president. “Look, he’s a sick puppy. He shouldn’t have been there,” Romney told reporters after Biden’s speech.“Given the fact that he’s under an ethics investigation, he should be sitting in the back row and being quiet instead of parading in front of the president. You certainly shouldn’t be in the aisle trying to shake the hand of the president of the United States and dignitaries coming in,” he added. “It’s an embarrassment.”