“A wall will not stop the coronavirus,” Biden wrote on Twitter on Thursday night, attempting to link the outbreak to Trump’s signature immigration goal of a strong barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Banning all travel from Europe – or any other part of the world – will not stop it,” Biden continued, taking aim at the temporary travel policy Trump announced this week. “This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet – and we need a plan to combat it.”
Biden’s tweet echoed comments he made the same day in a speech in his home state of Delaware, which he represented in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades before becoming vice president under former President Obama.
But Crenshaw, a freshman Republican congressman from Texas, spotted what he viewed as flaws in Biden’s thinking and shared his thoughts in a Twitter message of his own.
“First, walls quite literally stop a virus,” Crenshaw wrote. “It’s kind of the whole point of a quarantine, for instance.
“Second, assuming you meant this metaphorically, health experts like Dr. Fauci and everyone else agree travel restrictions have vastly slowed the spread of the virus in the US.”
Crenshaw was referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci, a respected immunologist with the National Institutes of Health who serves on the president’s Coronavirus Task Force, charged with crafting the federal government’s response to the outbreak under the direction of Vice President Mike Pence.
Earlier in the week, Fauci told Fox News’ Sean Hannity there was “no question” that Trump’s initial travel restriction targeting China – epicenter of the outbreak – had helped protect the U.S.
“Yes, there's no question that if we had not done that in a timely way, there would have been many more travel-related cases from China,” Fauci said during an appearance on “Hannity.” “And as you know, the outbreak that we're having here in the country, these cases originated from travel-related cases that came from China -- and then we had the issue in Washington state and what we're seeing now in other states.
“So, coming from outside within was the thing that started it. So, I think [Trump’s travel restriction against flights from China] saved us a lot of — a lot of concern and a lot of suffering, I think.”
Meanwhile, many people concerned they might have been exposed to the virus – but not yet certain, as they await testing or testing results – have voluntarily quarantined themselves in hopes of avoiding spreading the virus to others. The self-quarantining individuals have included members of Congress as well as professional sports figures — all of whom travel extensively, coming in contact with large numbers of people in multiple parts of the country, as part of their work.
Democrats like Biden, who is running for president, have come under fire for using the coronavirus to score political points against Trump as the 2020 presidential election looms.
The president spent part of Thursday posting Twitter messages in which he shared ways that Americans could help protect themselves, their families and co-workers from the virus.