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Former Vice President Joe Biden was swiftly fact-checked after claiming his comment about President Donald Trump being xenophobic was not related to the China travel ban.
Among the many inaccurate and false statements the Democratic presidential nominee made during Thursday’s presidential debate, his denial about comments on Trump’s “xenophobia” sparked a wave of rebuttals on social media. Biden pushed back on Trump’s accurate recounting of early steps to handle the emerging coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of the year, claiming his criticism was taken out of context.
While addressing the topic of COVID-19 and combating the pandemic, Trump correctly pointed out that Biden had called him “xenophobic” after he issued travel restrictions to stem the spread of the virus. The president focused on the hypocrisy of his opponent and other Democrats who slammed his travel ban but later argued that he should have closed the borders sooner, blaming him for the deaths of thousands of Americans.
“When I closed, he said I shouldn’t have closed, and that went on for months,” Trump said Thursday from the debate stage in Nashville, Tennessee. “When I closed, he said ‘this is a terrible thing, you’re xenophobic.’ I think he called me ‘racist’ even, because I was closing it to China. Now he says I should have closed it earlier.”
(Relevant portion in video begins at 3:30 mark)
(Source: Sky News)
“I didn’t say either of those things,” Biden responded.
“You certainly did. You certainly did,” Trump corrected.
“I talked about his xenophobia in a different context. It wasn’t about closing the border to Chinese coming to the United States,” the Democrat claimed, though he did not deny using the term.
At the end of January, the Trump administration declared a public health emergency in response to the coronavirus and temporarily banned foreign nationals from entering the country if they had traveled in China in the preceding weeks. Trump also made some cuts to certain health programs at the time and Biden slammed the decisions at the time.
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.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 1, 2020
Trump had issued another executive order the same day as the one on China travel, expanding his existing travel ban on several countries due to terror-related concerns. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the time blasted what she called the “outrageous, un-American travel ban.”
Though Biden did not refer specifically to the travel restriction, or make any distinction between the two orders at the time, his accusations of xenophobia seemed to connect his criticism to the coronavirus travel restrictions for China.
In March, Biden slammed the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, saying the nation shouldn’t “panic” or “fall back on xenophobia” in a speech delivered in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
The former vice president accused Trump of being responsible for “a new rash of racial messages, verbal and physical attacks and other acts of hate, some subtle, some overt, against the Asian American and Pacific Islanders,” during a May 2020 speech to the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Victory Fund.
The Trump campaign even addressed the attacks in a video ad back in May.
Biden’s claim about his comments during Thursday’s debate was quickly fact-checked.
Throwback Thursday! https://t.co/OYSWfKuNQF
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 23, 2020
Trump is correct. Biden did not endorse the idea of shutting down foreign travel until April 3. Trump did the partial China shutdown on Jan. 31. All Biden did during that period was cry xenophobia.
— Kyle Smith (@rkylesmith) October 23, 2020
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 23, 2020
Vice President Biden did indeed call President Trump xenophobic when Trump announced travel restrictions on China last January.
— J Michael Waller (@JMichaelWaller) October 23, 2020
Biden just said the President was “late” to shut down travel from China.
FACT: When the President restricted travel from China, Biden called it “xenophobia” and “fear-mongering.”
There’s no way he can now say the President was too slow.
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) October 23, 2020
Biden’s lying about saying the xenophobia comment wasn’t about shutting out China. Absolutely lying.
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) October 23, 2020
Biden denying calling Trump xenophobic *bc of travel ban* from China. So he just happened to drop that term re Trump within hours of the ban being announced?
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) October 23, 2020
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