White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked Monday by Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy why the travel bans extended and expanded under President Joe Biden are not considered “xenophobic”—the same thing former President Donald Trump was blamed for when he instituted travel bans due to the novel coronavirus.
“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?”
The press secretary took issue with the reporter’s question, asserting that the framing was inaccurate.
“Well, I don’t think that’s quite a fair articulation,” Psaki responded. “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 added. “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.”
President Biden announced Monday that he would be extending travel restrictions the Trump administration imposed, adding on a ban from South Africa—all as precautions against the coronavirus.
“President Biden added travelers from South Africa to the list of those barred from entering the United States — the latest step in an effort to help contain the spread of the coronavirus and fast-moving variants that have surfaced in that country and others in recent weeks,” The Washington Post reported, adding, “Biden also extended a ban on travelers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 other European countries that had been set to expire Tuesday under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump shortly before he left office.”
The Daily Wire reported that on March 18, then-President Donald Trump tweeted about his early move to block travel from China in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
“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 wrote on Twitter, a platform that has since banned him.
Quote-tweeting Trump, Biden shared: “Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job.”
A CNN “fact-check” effectively concluded it was misleading to suggest Biden had called Trump “xenophobic” for implementing the vital travel ban restrictions against China early on in the pandemic.
The Daily Wire previously reported:
As part of its “fact check” of the first presidential debate, CNN claimed President Donald Trump’s accusation that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called his China travel ban “xenophobic” at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic was “lacking context.”
“Defending his response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump referenced the travel restrictions his administration imposed on foreign nationals who had been in China, then attacked Biden for remarks he had made the same day,” CNN wrote. “Addressing his opponent, Trump said, ‘I closed it, and you said, ‘He’s xenophobic. He’s a racist and he’s xenophobic,’ because you didn’t think I should have closed our country.’”