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Psaki Struggles to Explain Why Biden's Travel Restrictions Aren't 'Xenophobic'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

In Monday's White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki struggled to come up with a convincing excuse or explanation for how President Biden's decision to restrict travel from a handful of African countries differed from then-President Trump's restrictions on travel from China.

Asked to explain the clear double-standard, Psaki stumbled her way through an answer that sought to show the difference between Trump's restrictions and Biden's.

"To put it in full context, what the President was critical of was the way that the former president put out, I believe a xenophobic tweet, and what he called the coronavirus and who he directed it at," Psaki argued. "The president has not been critical of travel restrictions, we have put those in place ourselves... in the spring."

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

So not only are Biden's travel restrictions not xenophobic, according to Psaki's spin, he's never even been critical of travel restrictions.

According to Psaki, Joe Biden isn't being a hypocrite because, when he called Trump a laundry list of insults, it was about Trump's *tweet* and not his travel restrictions as a policy. It just happened by chance that Biden's smear of Trump came the day after Trump restricted travel from China, apparently. 

Sure, Jen. 

At the time the Trump administration limited travel from China to slow the transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus to the United States, Biden slammed the restrictions as "hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering" that, according to now-President Biden, meant Trump was "the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency."

Fast forward less than two years and President Biden found himself enacting the same kind of travel restrictions, this time on a handful of countries in southern Africa. 

As Psaki also said during Monday's briefing, the Biden administration's travel restrictions levied against countries in Africa "is not to punish" those countries, but "to protect the American people" by delaying the new variant's arrival in the United States to buy time necessary to learn more about its transmissibility and how it affects people. 

That explanation from Psaki sounds an awful lot like President Trump and his administration's explanation of its travel restrictions against China as the Wuhan coronavirus began its spread across the globe. But of course according to the Democrats' logic, they can condemn Republicans for taking an action only to turn around and do the same while claiming they're beyond reproach. 

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