President Joe Biden announced a travel ban on African countries on Friday in response to news of the newly named “Omicron” variant of the coronavirus to keep it from spreading.
“As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries,” Biden wrote in a lengthy statement released by the White House.
The president remains on his extended Thanksgiving weekend vacation in Nantucket and did not publicly address the country on the variant or his newly announced travel ban.
During the 2020 campaign, Biden repeatedly condemned then-President Donald Trump for leveling travel bans on foreign countries, calling them racist and xenophobic.
In response to Trump’s ban on travel from China in January 2020, Biden wrote, “We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”
At the time, Biden described Trump as “the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”
On the campaign trail, Biden continued criticizing Trump for his travel ban and again excoriated Trump for enacting another ban against travel in Europe.
“Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it,” Biden said, warning that “a wall will not stop the coronavirus.”
Biden also specifically called out Trump in March for saying his travel ban saved lives.
“Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job,” he wrote.
In February 2020, Biden specifically condemned Trump’s expanded travel ban for security reasons, which included Africa.
“Trump further diminished the U.S. in the eyes of the world by expanding his travel ban,” Biden wrote. “This new ‘African Ban,’ is designed to make it harder for black and brown people to immigrate to the United States.”