President Joe Biden is set to reinstate a re-entry ban on non-US travelers coming into the country from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and more than half of all European countries as well as Brazil. Biden is also imposing a new ban on travel from South Africa.
According to the New York Post, former President Trump had signed an order on January 18 that would have lifted the COVID-related travel ban on Tuesday, but Biden took action to uphold the ban.
Biden added to the ban, preventing non-US citizens from entering the country from South Africa where a new, more infectious mutant strain of COVID-19 has broken out. The South Africa ban will go into effect on Saturday.
Biden’s stricter travel ban appears to contrast his rhetoric while on the campaign trail against Trump. Back in March, Trump tweeted about his early move to block travel from China in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus early on in the pandemic—a tweet that Biden characterized as xenophobic.
“I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!” Trump tweeted at the time.
Quote-tweeting the Trump, Biden wrote, “Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job.”
Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job. https://t.co/nQ5aLVrpyb
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 18, 2020
This apparent contrast was not lost on the media, thankfully.
According to the Daily Wire, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked on Monday by Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy why such travel bans were characterized as “xenophobic” under Trump but not under Biden.
“When President Trump was imposing travel restrictions in March, specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it ‘xenophobic’ and ‘fearmongering,’” Doocey told Psaki. “So now-President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries…What word do we use to describe that?”
“Well, I don’t think that’s quite a fair articulation,” Psaki answered. “The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic. He overturned the Muslim ban.”
“He also, though, has supported … even before he was inaugurated — steps, travel restrictions in order to keep the American people safe to ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control,” she continued. “That’s been part of his policy.”
“But he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions,” Psaki went on. “And he conveyed at the time, and more recently, the importance of having a multifaceted approach — mask wearing, vaccine distribution funding in order to get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans in the first hundred days, not just travel restrictions.”
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