Jen Psaki Struggles to Explain Why Joe Biden’s South Africa Travel Ban Isn’t ‘Xenophobic’ Like Trump’s China Travel Ban

Jen Psaki (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
Evan Vucci / Associated Press

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki struggled to explain Monday why President Joe Biden’s travel ban on South Africa was not “xenophobic” — which is how then-candidate Biden described President Donald Trump’s ban on China last year.

Peter Doocy, the White House correspondent for Fox News, asked Psaki: “When President Trump was imposing travel restrictions in March [sic] specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it ‘xenophobic’ and ‘fear-mongering.’ So now President Biden is putting travel restrictions on people coming in from other countries. What words would you use to describe that?”

Psaki answered:

I don’t think that’s quite a fair articulation. The president has been clear that he felt the “Muslim ban” was xenophobic. He overturned the “Muslim ban.” He also, though, has supported — and he himself, even before, or we did, I should say, 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. 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. And he conveyed at the time, and more recently, the importance of having a multifaceted approach … not just travel restrictions.

Biden did refer to Trump’s travel ban in January 2020 as “hysterical xenophobia and fearmongering.” He finally backed the China travel ban more than two months later, in April 2020.

As Breitbart News has noted several times, there was no “Muslim ban.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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