Jen Psaki Says It Isn’t ‘A Fair Articulation’ To Say Then-Candidate Biden Called Trump Admin’s China Travel Ban ‘Xenophobic’

(Screenshot - PBS NewsHour via YouTube)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing Monday that it was not “a fair articulation” to say then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called the Trump administration’s coronavirus travel ban on China “xenophobic.”

“When President Trump was imposing travel restrictions in March, specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it xenophobic and fear-mongering,” Psaki was asked during Monday’s press briefing. “So now that President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries, what words do we use to describe that?”

“I don’t think that’s a fair articulation,” Psaki responded. “[Biden] has supported steps, travel restrictions, in order to keep the American people safe, to ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control. That’s been part of his policy.

A nationwide travel ban on foreign nationals coming from China went into effect Jan. 31 following reports of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a Level 4 travel advisory at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, a member of former President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force and now President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in March that the early decision to halt travel from China had a real impact on containing the outbreak.

But multiple statements made by then-candidate Biden suggested he opposed the Trump administration’s China travel ban. Biden also made references to the former president’s alleged “xenophobia” and “fear-mongering” when talking about the restrictions.

Biden first accused Trump of xenophobia in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic during a Jan. 31 campaign rally in Fort Madison, Iowa — shortly after then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the travel ban. Biden had previously claimed he was calling for travel restrictions as early as January.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysterical xenophobia and fear mongering to lead the way instead of science,” Biden told rally goers.

Biden also slammed Trump’s “record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering” in a Feb. 1 tweet.

After the Trump administration announced a near-total ban on travel from Europe to the United States, Biden claimed in a March 12 tweet that travel restrictions would not stop the disease’s spread. (RELATED: Biden To Reinstate Trump’s COVID-19 Travel Bans, Will Add South Africa)

“Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it,” he tweeted.

Biden again alleged in a March 18 tweet that the China travel ban was “xenophobic fear-mongering,” directly responding to remarks Trump made on social media praising his “very early decision to close the “borders” from China — against the wishes of almost all.”

“Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering,” Biden tweeted in response. “Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job.”