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White House defends Biden travel ban after digs against Trump

WashingtonExaminer
WashingtonExaminer
 2021-11-29

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The White House defended President Joe Biden's decision to impose a travel ban on eight southern African countries after he suggested former President Donald Trump's Asia-focused restrictions and rhetoric were xenophobic during the 2020 campaign.

Biden has not criticized travel bans, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The Biden administration has introduced its own travel limitations, she told reporters Monday.

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"He believes we should follow the advice of health and medical experts. That's exactly what he did in putting in place these restrictions over the weekend," she said.

South Africa has complained Biden's travel ban is punitive after officials disclosed the discovery of the potentially more transmissible omicron COVID-19 variant last week.

"He's going to always err on the side of protecting the American people," Psaki said of Biden. “The objective here is not to punish. It is to protect the American people."

Public health experts have argued the emergence of a new variant as the world grapples with the delta strain has underscored the importance of vaccinating people living in poorer countries. But before the outbreak, South Africa had turned down vaccines from the United States due to internal struggles with hesitancy, Psaki added Monday.

Biden spoke of his decision earlier on Monday, saying the travel ban would buy the U.S. more time to vaccinate and boost a larger segment of the population. He previewed the release of a more detailed strategy on Thursday.

Biden's travel ban started being implemented from Monday, capturing South Africa and seven of its neighbors: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.

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Biden alleged Trump's "record of hysterical xenophobia and fearmongering" rendered him ill-equipped to "lead our country through a global health emergency" in Iowa in January 2020 shortly after his predecessor slapped a travel ban on China, where COVID-19 originated. Biden and his aides later insisted he was referring to Trump’s history of inflammatory remarks about foreign countries and their nationals, not the Chinese travel restrictions.

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Sharon Neitzelt
11-30

He don’t care about the American people . He has showed us this in everything he has done and continues to do each day

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