- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2020

President Trump’s plan to temporarily halt immigration due to the coronavirus pandemic has reignited claims of xenophobia.

ABC White House correspondent Cecilia Vega spotlighted Mr. Trump’s critics during Tuesday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America” after co-host George Stephanopoulos told viewers “they’ve basically been working up to this.”

“Since the outbreak, the White House has been using the virus to justify increased restrictions on immigration,” Mr. Stephanopoulos said while setting the stage for his colleague.

“A move like this, though, would be absolutely unprecedented and would essentially shut down the legal immigration system,” Ms. Vega said, NewsBusters reported. “And one thing that’s certain, this is definitely going to be challenged in court, opponents are calling this xenophobic.”

Ms. Vega’s analysis came in the wake of Mr. Trump’s Monday evening tweet, which stated: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

The Trump administration has insisted that it’s been subjected to criticism reminiscent of author Joseph Heller’s famous novel “Catch-22.”

The president, for instance, reminded NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker that he is accused of not acting fast enough to stop the virus by the same critics who labeled him xenophobic and racist in January for cutting off travel to China.

“Why was the United States not prepared?” Ms. Welker asked on March 19.

“The only thing we weren’t prepared for was the media,” he replied. “The media has not treated it fairly. I’ll tell you how prepared I was: I called for a ban for people coming in from China long before anybody. It was your network, I believe they called me a racist because I did that. Many of the people in the room, they called me racist and other words because I did that because I went so early.”

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