On Friday following news earlier this week that yet another new COVID-19 variant has been discovered — this time in South Africa — President Joe Biden decided to issue an executive order banning travel from that country along with seven others from the southern portion of the African continent.
“According to the WHO, preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other variants of concern. Further, the WHO reports that the number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in the Republic of South Africa,” said an executive order issued by President Biden.
Countries included in the travel ban include the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Fair enough. It sounds like the president is simply trying to be proactive and protect the country.
But remember the last time a president did the very same thing in response to this pandemic? That would be President Donald Trump, and for his quick action, he was mocked, ridiculed, and incorrectly branded a racist.
Biden was in on that, in fact, as Just the News reports:
Back in 2020, then-candidate Biden derided then-President Donald Trump as ’xenophobic’ and argued travel bans wouldn’t ‘stop’ the pandemic I after the Republican candidate placed restrictions on travel from Chiba and Europe amid the earliest COVID-19 outbreaks.
“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysterical xenophobia and fear-mongering to lead the way instead of science,” Biden said at the time.
“A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it,” he said at one point last year. “This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it.”
He also argued about a year ago that “travel restrictions based on favoritism and politics rather than a risk will be counterproductive.”
Republicans and conservatives took to social media to remind Biden of his remarks and as what’s so different this time around.
“Biden has just announced a travel ban on 8 African nations due to the new Omicron variant of COVID,” Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., tweeted. “Suddenly travel bans aren’t xenophobic?
“Does this also apply to the illegals at the Southern Border or are they exempt as usual?” she asked.
Biden has just announced a travel ban on 8 African nations due to the new Omicron variant of COVID.
Suddenly travel bans aren’t xenophobic?
Does this also apply to the illegals at the Southern Border or are they exempt as usual?
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) November 26, 2021
“The new variant is so dangerous that the USPS, Congress and several hundred thousand immigrants crossing our Southern border are exempt from the mandates, but we absolutely must put a travel ban on folks from South Africa,” another user wrote.
“This is so very #Racist! #BidensAmerica will be judged by the rest of the world! Why is there no travel ban on the Southern Border?” wrote another user.
Conservative commentator Benny Johnson also weighed in.
Today the Biden Administration announced a Travel Ban on South Africa and 7 other African nations over the ‘New COVID Variant.’ Here was Joe Biden and Kamala Harris when Trump banned Travel,” he wrote in a post that included screengrabs.
Today the Biden Administration announced a Travel Ban on South Africa and 7 other African nations over the “New COVID Variant”
Here was Joe Biden and Kamala Harris when Trump banned Travel: pic.twitter.com/NGVef2nkfS
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 26, 2021
“Stop beating around the bush, ye of the left. Just call out Bidden & Kamala like you called out Trump when he issued a travel ban. Suddenly the language has changed to ‘so South Africa is getting punished’? By who? Don’t they have a name?” Nairobi-based writer T.R. Okuna posted.
Stop beating around the bush, ye of the left. Just call out Bidden & Kamala like you called out Trump when he issued a travel ban. Suddenly the language has changed to “so South Africa is getting punished”?
By who? Don’t they have a name?
— T. R. Okuna (@XivTroy) November 27, 2021