In light of a new COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa, President Joe Biden on Friday announced a new pandemic-related travel ban on that nation and seven other countries from southern Africa.
Yet, when former President Donald Trump had done the exact same thing at the start of the pandemic in 2020, then-candidate Biden had decried such acts as racist and “xenophobic,” in addition to being ineffective and worthless, Fox News reported.
Biden’s new ban
Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) designation of the recently discovered “omicron” variant of COVID-19 as a new concern, President Biden issued a proclamation announcing travel restrictions on the several African nations where that particular variant was reportedly spreading.
The banned African nations included Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, though there are exceptions for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
“I’ve decided that we’re going to be cautious — make sure there is no travel to and from South Africa and six other countries in that region and — except for American citizens who are able to come back,” Biden told reporters later in the morning. “But we don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is of great concern; it seems to spread rapidly.”
That is quite a bit different than what then-candidate Biden had to say in early 2020 after then-President Trump had issued a travel ban against China, the origin of the pandemic, that was subsequently updated to include six additional nations, four of which were located in Africa.
On Feb. 1, 2020, Biden tweeted, “We are in the midst of a crisis with 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.”
Just hours later, in reference to the additional countries added to the travel ban on China, Biden took to Twitter again to unmistakably accuse Trump of being racist against “Black and brown people.”
“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. It’s a disgrace, and we cannot let him succeed.”
Trump further diminished the U.S. in the eyes of the world by expanding his travel ban. This new “African Ban,” is designed to make it harder for black and brown people to immigrate to the United States. It’s a disgrace, and we cannot let him succeed. https://t.co/oePD5eSAWY
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 2, 2020
Biden eats crow
A little more than a month later, after Trump placed travel restrictions on the European Union, Biden had said in a tweet, “A wall will not stop the coronavirus. 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.”
All three of those tweets are 100% applicable to the current situation, so we must ask: Did Biden truly mean what he said then — which would render him a fear-mongering but ineffective racist xenophobe as well — or was it all just empty and meaningless partisan swipes that ignored the validity and necessity of what Trump had done?