WASHINGTON – President Trump on Monday ordered an end to the ban on travelers from Europe and Brazil aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, a move quickly rejected by aides-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who said Mr Biden will uphold the ban when he takes office on Wednesday.
In a proclamation issued late Monday, Mr. Trump said the travel restrictions, which apply to non-citizens trying to come to the United States after spending time in these areas, would no longer be necessary on January 26, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will begin requiring all overseas passengers to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight.
Mr Trump wrote that Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services, had recommended ending restrictions on travel from most parts of Europe and Brazil, while maintaining restrictions on Iran and China, which Mr Trump said was not cooperative.
“I agree with the secretary that this action is the best way to continue to protect Americans from Covid-19 while allowing travel to resume safely,” the president said in the proclamation.
But Jennifer Psaki, the new White House press secretary for Mr. Biden, said the new administration would not allow Mr. Trump’s directives to come into effect.
“With the worsening pandemic and the emergence of more contagious variants around the world, now is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel”, Ms Psaki tweeted shortly after the White House issued Mr. Trump’s proclamation.
“On the advice of our medical team, the administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26,” she said. “In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures regarding international travel to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”
The proclamation lifting the travel ban was part of a wave of executive orders Mr. Trump issued on Monday that will most likely be rescinded or rescinded by Mr. Biden.
The president-elect has made pandemic control the centerpiece of his new administration and has been very critical of how his predecessor handled the worst public health crisis in more than 100 years.
Mr Biden said the American people must be prepared to endure a “dark winter” in which the virus spreads rapidly and creates more illness and death. His advisers have recommended that he institute a mask warrant in federal workplaces and for interstate travel in hopes of slowing the rise in the number of infections.
Aids to Mr Biden made it clear on Monday that easing restrictions no longer made sense.
Mr Trump has long sought to use his push to ban travel to slow the spread of the virus as proof that he acted quickly in the early days of the pandemic. In fact, medical experts have said the restrictions on travel from China, which Mr Trump imposed in late January, were riddled with exemptions that allowed tens of thousands of people who were in China to enter the country. United States in the weeks following the ban. .
Mr Trump’s restrictions on travel from Europe did not come into effect until mid-March, when the virus was well established in the United States. In May, the administration imposed a travel ban on people who were in Brazil.
The travel restrictions proclamation appears to be an effort to help the airline and hospitality industries, which have been hit hard by the ban.
In it, Mr. Trump said the ban was no longer needed because unrestricted travel to the United States “is no longer detrimental to United States interests” and added that he judged “in the ‘interest of the United States to end the suspension of entry into the United States of persons who were physically present in those jurisdictions. “
The president’s attempt to change pandemic-related policy just two days before stepping down is in line with the unorthodox way he led the transition to a new administration. Normally, outgoing presidents refrain from issuing new decrees without consulting the incoming president.
But Mr. Trump refused to meet those standards. For weeks after Mr Biden was cast as the winner of the presidential race, the president refused to acknowledge his defeat and delayed the formal process of transitioning power to Mr Biden’s team.
And more recently, Trump administration officials have been rushing to implement policy changes that could disrupt the new president.
Mr. Trump’s other executive orders on Monday included one that would allow federal agencies to issue new regulations only at the instigation of politically appointed people.
The order appeared to be intended to allow those appointed by Mr. Trump’s administration to retain control of the new regulations until Mr. Biden replaced them with his own people, a process that can sometimes take weeks or weeks. months.
Mr. Trump also issued an executive order directing the federal government not to purchase drones “which present unacceptable risks and which are manufactured by or contain software or critical electronic components from foreign adversaries.” This order seemed to target China.
Mr. Trump ordered the creation of a National Garden of American Heroes that would include statues of famous people. The order followed complaints from Mr. Trump over the summer that protesters were damaging statues, which he used as a cultural wedge issue in his losing presidential campaign.
He also issued an executive order to increase protection for prosecutors and another to protect Americans from “overcriminalization” by regulations.
None of Mr. Trump’s executive orders are likely to be in effect on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Biden has pledged to work to reverse Mr. Trump’s legacy and plans a flash of his own executive orders – many of which reverse the Trump agenda – in the early hours and days of his presence at the House White.