House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Sunday claimed that President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions on China did not do enough to prevent people from traveling to the United States.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Pelosi if she believed travel restrictions on China were appropriate, noting Joe Biden’s recent endorsement of the ban.
Pelosi did not say whether she supported the restrictions but claimed the ban wasn’t a “great moment” because it still allowed some people to travel from China to the United States.
“If you’re going to shut the door because you have an evaluation of an epidemic, then shut the door,” Pelosi said during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.
“Actually, tens of thousands of people were still allowed in from China,” she said. “So it wasn’t, as it is described, as this great moment. There were Americans coming back or green card holders coming back. But there were tens of thousands.”
Weeks following the travel ban, Pelosi encouraged San Francisco residents to join her and visit the city’s Chinatown.
“We think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come,” Pelosi said at the time.
Approximately two weeks later, San Francisco recommended social distancing guidelines. California would become the first state to implement a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19.
The day the China travel ban was announced, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized the president’s “record of hysteria and xenophobia.” Biden’s campaign has since stated that the former vice president was not referencing the travel restrictions on China.
The Trump administration implemented the China travel ban on Jan. 31 to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus from China, the virus’s place of origin. The policy restricted foreign nationals from traveling from China to the United States.