Biden Says He Didn’t Call Trump Xenophobic For China Travel Ban — But Tweets Say Otherwise

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During the debate, former vice president Joe Biden called President Donald Trump “xenophobic” — but contradicted a previous claim he made.

On January 31, President Donald Trump enacted a travel ban against those who had been to China in the previous 14 days to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic with a few exemptions, including U.S. citizens and green card holders. Trump brought it up Thursday night when mentioning his coronavirus response — and hit Biden for his early reaction to the move.

“I don’t think we’re gonna have a dark winter at all,” Trump said. “We’re opening up our country. We’ve learned and studied and understand the disease which we didn’t at the beginning. When I closed and banned China from coming in heavily infected and ultimately Europe, but China was in January, months later you were saying I was xenophobic — I did it too soon.”

Biden denied the charge and claimed that President Trump was the one who wasn’t hard enough on China.

“My response is, he is xenophobic, but not because he shut down access from China,” Biden said. “And he did it late after 40 countries had already done that. In addition to that, what he did, he made sure that we had 44 people that were in there, in China, trying to get to Wuhan to determine what exactly the source was. What did the president say in January? He said no, he said this is — he’s being transparent. The president of China is being transparent, we owe him a debt of gratitude, we have to thank him.”

However, Biden ignored a couple of his past remarks in response to Trump’s China travel ban.

On February 1, for example, one day after Trump’s administration announced the travel restrictions, Biden posted an angry tweet about Trump’s handling of the virus.

“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. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”

And on March 18, Biden wasn’t happy when Trump defended his travel ban on Twitter.

“Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering,” Biden wrote. “Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job.”

This was in response to a Trump tweet that said, “I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the “borders” from China — against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!”

Biden, who calls Trump “xenophobic,” supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the country. He has previously said that if elected, he would only deport illegal immigrants during the first 100 days of his administration if they commit a felony.