Conservatives cry hypocrisy after Biden bans travel from 8 African countries

·1 min read
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Biden MANDEL NGAN/AFP

Conservatives are accusing President Biden of hypocrisy after he announced travel restrictions against eight African countries.

During the 2020 campaign, critics noted, Biden accused former President Donald Trump of racism and xenophobia for enacting similar travel bans.

Despite the way it is being framed in some outlets, however, the tweet embedded below does not actually address the COVID-19 pandemic:

Instead, it was posted in response to a Trump administration policy that would make it more difficult for citizens of Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan to obtain immigrant visas. When asked by reporters what the rationale was for the policy, Department of Homeland Security officials cited concerns about passports and information sharing, not COVID-19.

The Biden campaign's official response to the policy (from which the tweet is excerpted) did not mention the virus either.

Other tweets, one posted the same day and two in mid-March, did appear to refer to travel bans implemented in response to the coronavirus, denouncing them as either xenophobic or ineffective.

Biden staffers told the Washington Post that references to xenophobia in the posts concerned Trump's record and to his use of terms like "China Virus," not to the travel restrictions themselves. By April of 2020, the Biden campaign had come out in support of Trump's ban on travel from China.

The new travel ban includes South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi and is intended to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, CNN reported. The restrictions take effect Monday.

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