Psaki claims it's not 'fair' to say Biden called Trump's COVID travel ban 'xenophobic'

WH press secretary: Biden supports travel restrictions to ‘keep the American people safe’ during pandemic

Press Secretary Jen Psaki says travel restrictions will be part of a multi-faceted approach by the Biden administration to combat the coronavirus.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday it was unfair to claim that President Biden described his predecessor's coronavirus-related travel ban as "xenophobic," despite statements that indicated that was in fact his view of that policy.

"I don't think that's quite a fair articulation," she told Fox News' Peter Doocy who reiterated Biden's use of the term "xenophobic." Doocy's comment came just after the White House announced a coronavirus-related ban on travel from South Africa.

"The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic," Psaki said. "He overturned the Muslim ban. He also, though, has supported steps, travel restrictions in order to keep the American people safe, to ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control. That's been part of his policy, but he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions."

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Psaki's answer echoed previous denials by then-candidate Biden's claims during the presidential race as former President Trump referenced the ban as evidence of successful policymaking.

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Around the time of Trump announcing the China ban last year, Biden accused Trump of "xenophobia" without explicitly referencing it. In a later tweet, however, he responded directly to one of Trump's posts touting the ban.

"Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering," Biden tweeted. "Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job."

Sam Dorman Fox News