Hagerstown Regional Airport
Hagerstown, Maryland

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. 

Thank you.

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

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