Two Republican senators called for President Joe Biden to restrict travel from China amid reports of a mysterious disease spreading across the country. The effort by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) bears some similarities to calls in 2020 to limit travel from China at the beginning of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
The letter requests that the White House take swift action amid the growth of an “unknown respiratory illness” in the People’s Republic.
The senators wrote that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “has a long history of lying about public health crises.” Rubio and Vance accuse the CCP of such actions during the 2020 pandemic, which they argue “robbed the United States of vital knowledge about the disease and its origin.”
The senators cited a travel ban enacted by former President Donald Trump in January 2020 “to protect the American people” and counter the spread of COVID.
They stated that “many officials and commentators,” including the president, “criticized his decision as being influenced by “xenophobia.” But history and common sense show his decision was the right one.”
We asked Biden to ban travel to and from China until we know more about this "mystery pneumonia" outbreak https://t.co/eeufkufVII
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 1, 2023
Vance and Rubio wrote that the “world faces another unknown pathogen” that could “spread to other countries, including the United States.”
The disease has been spreading since October, which the senators characterize as a “special hazard for children and has overrun hospitals in the north of the country.”
The senators wrote that the United States should not wait for the World Health Organization (WHO) to take action “given its track record of slavish deference to the CCP.”
“We must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans and our economy. That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and the PRC until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness,” they wrote. “A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates and further outbreaks later.”