Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Biden

Biden MANDEL NGAN / AFP

Conservatives accuse President Biden of hypocrisy after announcing travel restrictions against eight African countries.

During the 2020 campaign, critics noted, Biden accused former President Donald Trump of racism and xenophobia for having passed similar travel bans.

Despite the way it’s framed in some stores, the tweet embedded below does not actually address the COVID-19 pandemic:

Instead, it was announced in response to a Trump administration policy that would make it more difficult for citizens of Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan to obtain immigrant visas. When reporters asked what the rationale was for the policy, Department of Homeland Security officials cited concerns about passports and information sharing, not COVID-19.

The Biden campaign’s official response to the policy (from which the tweet is extracted) also did not mention the virus.

Other tweets, one posted the same day and two in mid-March, appeared to refer to travel bans implemented in response to coronavirus, condemning them as either xenophobic or ineffective.

Biden staff told Washington Post that references to xenophobia in the posts related to Trump’s record and to his use of terms such as “China virus,” not to the travel restrictions themselves. By April 2020, the Biden campaign had come out in support of Trump’s ban on traveling from China.

The new travel ban covers South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi and aims to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, CNN reported. The restrictions take effect Monday.

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