WH disputes former Biden claim that Trump travel restrictions were ‘xenophobic’
When asked by a reporter about President Joe Biden‘s past comments regarding then-President Donald Trump‘s travel restrictions on China toward the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she doesn’t think that’s “a fair articulation.”
“When President Trump was imposing travel restrictions in March, specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it ‘xenophobic’ and ‘fear-mongering.’ Now, President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries. “What word do we use to describe that?” asked Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy.
“I don’t think that’s quite a fair articulation,” Jen Psaki replied.
“The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic—he overturned the Muslim ban,” she continued, going on to say that Biden before he was inaugurated supported travel restrictions “in order to keep the American people safe” and to “ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control.”
“But he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions, 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 100 days,” Psaki added.
Trump’s travel restrictions on the whole nation of China came into effect on February 2, 2020. Travel between the U.S. and Macau and Hong Kong continued, however.
In his question, Doocy is referring to tweets from then-candidate Biden accusing Trump of “xenophobia” and “fear-mongering” around the time Trump’s travel restrictions on China were coming into effect and when the then-president was starting to more frequently use the terms “China Virus” and “Chinese Virus” when discussing the coronavirus.
“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering,” Biden tweeted on February 1, 2020. “He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”
“Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be responsibility. Do your job,” Biden tweeted March 18, 2020 in response to a tweet from Trump saying: “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!”
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