President Joe Biden was forced to confront his own past criticisms of travel bans on Friday when he imposed his own travel restrictions on mostly African countries where a new and concerning COVID-19 virus variant has emerged.
Back in 2020, then-candidate Biden derided then-President Donald Trump as ’xenophobic’ and argued travel bans wouldn’t ‘stop’ the pandemic I after the Republican candidate placed restrictions on travel from Chiba and Europe amid the earliest COVID-19 outbreaks.
“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysterical xenophobia and fear mongering to lead the way instead of science,” Biden said at the time.
“A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it,” he said at one point last year. “This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it.”
He also argued a year ago “travel restrictions based on favoritism and politics rather than a risk will be counterproductive.”
Biden later tried to argue his xenophobic comment was not specific to travel bans and meant to signify a broader criticism he had of the prior administration’s approach to immigration. But he never walked back his comments in them ineffectiveness of travel restrictions.
On Friday, the Biden administration announced it is restricting travel into the United States from several African countries where a new strain of the coronavirus known as the Omicron variant has been detected.
The travel restrictions apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi and Namibia.
Conservatives relentlessly panned the president on Friday, comparing his past criticisms to his current actions.
“Biden has just announced a travel ban on 8 African nations due to the new Omicron variant of COVID,” Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., tweeted. “Suddenly travel bans aren’t xenophobic?
“Does this also apply to the illegals at the Southern Border or are they exempt as usual?” she asked.