Rep. Nancy Mace doesn’t have a problem with President Biden blocking international travel over the latest novel coronavirus variant, but she does have a problem with the hypocrisy.
The South Carolina Republican said the muted media response revealed a double-standard between Mr. Biden‘s restrictions on flights from eight African nations and similar limits imposed last year by former President Donald Trump.
“The crazy part is, when President Trump did this, he was labeled as racist,” Ms. Mace said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “But when President Biden does it, it’s seemingly entirely OK. That is the problem with politics and a lot of the mainstream media coverage today and social media. They don’t treat Republicans and Democrats equally.”
Mr. Biden announced Friday plans to restrict entry from eight African nations to stem the transmission of the COVID-19 omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa. Exceptions will be made for U.S. citizens, legal residents and spouses.
Other countries, including Canada and Israel and Singapore, and the European Union moved Friday to restrict flights from southern African nations, the same day the World Health Organization labeled omicron a “variant of concern.”
While Ms. Mace was frustrated by the media double-standard, she said she supported the president’s decision to limit travel, calling it “sound policy right now. We don’t know a lot about omicron.”
Mr. Biden was among those who criticized Mr. Trump last year after he blocked most travel from mainland China, and later from Europe.
Mr. Trump announced the China travel restrictions on Jan. 31, 2020. A day later, Mr. Biden suggested the measure was rooted in “xenophobia.”
“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,” Mr. Biden tweeted Feb. 1, 2020. “He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”
After the Trump administration restricted entry from Europe on March 11, 2020, Mr. Biden followed up by criticizing travel bans as ineffective.
“A wall will not stop the coronavirus,” said Mr. Biden in a tweet on March 12, 2020. “Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it. This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it.”
“Fox News Sunday” guest host Jason Chaffetz, a former Republican congressman from Utah, highlighted the discrepancy.
“So, when President Trump tried to put in a travel ban, he was widely criticized, saying that it was all these different phobias and that it wouldn’t work,” said Mr. Chaffetz.
In a Saturday appearance on “Fox & Friends,” conservative pundit and host of Fox’s “Unfiltered” Dan Bongino accused Mr. Biden of “replicating what he himself called racist.”
In addition to South Africa, Mr. Biden‘s restrictions apply to the southern African nations of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The limits take effect Monday.
Ms. Mace said she wanted to see more data on the omicron variant, which has yet to be detected in the United States.
“I think that will be really important in making policy decisions related to travel. But it is the right decision right now,” she said. “But everyone, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, the policy is the same, that they should be treated equally. And that’s the problem with politics in this country today. They’re not.”