Joe Biden, now banning travel from South Africa amid fear of spreading the new Covid-19 mutation, at one point referred to Trump as xenophobic for banning travel from China for the same reason.
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“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus,” Biden tweeted as a presidential candidate last year the day after Trump imposed travel restrictions from China into the United States in response to the spread of the coronavirus. “We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”
The day before, in addition to the travel restriction from China, Trump issued a proclamation extending his “travel ban” to six additional countries that included Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Trump’s initial travel ban, issued in 2017, set new criteria for visa applicants and refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries over concerns that individuals coming from those countries could not be properly vetted.
Biden later attempted to walk back the xenophobic comment and claimed during a debate that he was making a broad point about xenophobia and not directly referring to the travel ban.
“A wall will not stop the coronavirus,” Biden tweeted in March of 2020. “Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it. This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it.”
Biden also referred to Trump’s temporary immigration ban from certain African countries as a “disgrace.”
On Friday, the Biden administration announced it is restricting travel into the United States from several African countries in response to a new strain of the coronavirus known as the Omicron variant.
The travel restrictions will apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
The European Union, United Kingdom, and Israel have halted air travel to southern Africa in response to the new variant.