McCarthy questions Biden's change of mind on coronavirus travel bans as new restrictions announced
FOX News correspondent Mark Meredith joins' Fox Report' with the latest.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy's office is questioning if President Biden changed his mind when it comes to coronavirus-related travel bans after it was reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is imposing a new restriction on travelers from South Africa.
A spokesperson for the California Republican pointed to when Biden urged then-President Trump in a tweet to "[s]top the xenophobic fear-mongering" after he announced a ban on travel from China.
"Has President Biden changed his mind on the efficacy of coronavirus entry bans?" McCarthy's office asked. "Or are entry bans still 'xenophobic fear-mongering'? Which is it? The American people deserve to know."
When asked by Fox News' Peter Doocy about the new restrictions in light of Biden's past comment, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she did not believe this was "a fair articulation."
"The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic," Psaki said, noting that Biden rescinded the ban on travel from certain Muslim-majority countries. Psaki also claimed that Biden and his team supported travel restrictions before he took office.
"But he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions," she added.
In a tweet posted the day after the ban on travelers who had been to China was announced, Biden said, "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."
The questioning of Biden's current stance on pandemic-related travel restrictions followed a Reuters report on the CDC's new protective measure.
"We are adding South Africa to the restricted list because of the concerning variant present that has already spread beyond South Africa," CDC principal deputy director Dr. Anne Schuchat told the outlet.
The restriction on South Africa is in addition to the ban on entry to the U.S. on most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been to more than two dozen other countries, including Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and 26 countries on the European continent that allow travel across open borders, White House sources confirmed to Fox News.
The restrictions on Europe and Brazil were initially imposed by Trump. Two days before leaving office, Trump had ordered them to be lifted as of this Tuesday. Instead of allowing the bans to expire, Biden reinstituted them.
Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report.