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‘Why Just Africa?’: Sunny Hostin Isn’t Sure Biden’s Travel Ban Is Any Better Than Trump’s
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Sunny Hostin speaks during the Help USA Scholarship Awards luncheon at The Plaza on December 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for Help USA)
Lars Niki/Getty Images for Help USA

Sunny Hostin, a regular host on ABC’s “The View,” said Monday that she wasn’t sure President Joe Biden’s travel restrictions were any less problematic than former President Donald Trump’s had been.

Following the news over the Thanksgiving holiday that doctors in South Africa had discovered the new Omicron variant, the United States — along with a number of other countries — imposed restrictions on flights from several countries in Africa where the variant had been identified.

A number of people took to Twitter immediately afterward, noting that then-candidate Joe Biden had been critical of the previous administration’s move to ban travel from China in the early days of the pandemic.

Pollster Frank Luntz noted, “The same people who called Trump’s pandemic travel ban ‘xenophobic’ or ‘racist’ are suddenly silent about Biden’s travel ban. A dozen non-African countries with confirmed Omicron cases are not included in the ban.”

Cohost Whoopi Goldberg introduced the topic on “The View” with a clip of Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) complaining that Republicans and Democrats were held to different standards and treated differently by media.

“I would — I have to say that’s not exactly true,” Goldberg claimed. “There’s a lot of reasons for that. Perhaps it’s because we talk different languages. You think it’s ok to call people names and make cartoons about them, we think it’s kinda … maybe wanna not do that, but that might be crazy of me to say. What is your take on all of this?”

“He called — Trump called it the China virus, remember that? And the Kung Flu. And Joe Biden basically pointed out that President Trump has a record of ‘hysterical xenophobia and fearmongering.’ DUH. That’s the difference,” cohost Joy Behar added.

“It is a difference, but I don’t know that the travel ban makes sense,” Hostin objected. “I don’t know that it’s that different because he’s banning people from African countries and we know that this variant is not only in South Africa, and South Africa has some of the world’s best scientists and epidemiologists and I think that’s why they found the variant there.”

“And they were good enough to say they had it,” Behar added, noting that honesty and transparency were of the utmost importance.

“This variant was found in Israel, it was found in Belgium, it was found in other European countries, why aren’t there bans from those countries? Why just Africa? I think that has to be called out,” Hostin continued.

“The big picture is, we have information now and what are we going to do with it?” Goldberg interrupted, redirecting the conversation.

Cohost Sara Haines went on to note, as Dr. Anthony Fauci said over the weekend, that travel bans were not terribly effective at stopping the spread of the virus, but they could buy scientists time to study whether or not the new variant responded to current vaccines or therapeutics — and could give them the data they needed to make those measures more effective against Omicron and possible future variants.

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