Did Nancy Pelosi Try to Overturn Trump’s Ban on Travel From China?

In a Team Trump Online interview Monday, Rep. Debbie Lesko told Lara Trump that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had attempted to overturn President Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China in January. 

“They were doing impeachment, that’s all they cared about, while President Trump was working on banning travel from China to try to slow the spread,” said Lesko. “And Pelosi, if you remember, actually had a travel ban–she had the Ban Act. She was going to try to overturn President Trump’s decision on that.”

Exact viewership numbers are not publicly available, but Trump’s campaign recently claimed that for the past seven weeks, Team Trump Online’s videos have each received “more than one million unique views across all platforms” (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), suggesting Lesko’s comments may have been seen by a large number of viewers. 

Lesko’s claims are a variation on old claims that Pelosi opposed the president’s coronavirus travel ban, based on her opposition to a travel ban announced the same day—this one entirely unrelated to coronavirus. On January 31, the White House announced not only that travel was being restricted (though not entirely banned) from China to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but also the expansion of Executive Order 13780, a 2017 order from President Trump that limits travel from certain countries the government considers high risk for terrorism from entering the U.S. When Pelosi voiced opposition to a travel ban, she was referring to the expansion of the 2017 order, not the coronavirus travel restrictions.

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Comments (17)
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  • What is utterly ridiculous is believing that any travel ban could stop something as slippery as this virus, or believing that we knew enough, sans any testing, to know precisely how it arrived on our shores. At this point Italy is still a better contender, although China is undoubtedly the original source.
    As to the right/left arguments on the ban: it may surprise some of you, but there have actually been complaints on the left that the Trump's travel ban was not restrictive enough.

    1. There have been now. At the time of the ban, the left was unanimous in claiming that it was too restrictive.

      It's a good example of the gaslighting that the left has been running.

  • Pelosi's "No Ban Act" is utterly ridiculous on its merits, since it ignores the facts underlying the bans that she says it's about. I actually agree that Presidential power on the subject should be restricted, but that's only acceptable if Congress simultaneously steps in and requires roughly the same limitations that Trump put into place.

    And, of course, it was also developed alongside and would prevent the coronavirus bans in question. It beggars belief to claim that the ban on Chinese travel isn't relevant to that decision, especially when Pelosi was explicitly contradicting the administration at that stage. Even if left-wing fact checkers couldn't find evidence that she'd specifically opposed it, there's adequate evidence that both she and members of her party were opposing social distancing, referring to the references to it as racist, etc.

    Is there any evidence that Pelosi supported the travel ban or thought it should be stronger? Because supporting the No Ban Act, as she did, certainly looks like she opposed it, and I don't think any honest fact check could make the claim made here without actual proof to the contrary.

    At the very least, the No Ban Act would have overturned Trump's ban on travel from China, and Pelosi supported that. So the subtitle here is a lie. Yes, I'm calling Alec Dent a liar. He's written an entire post which doesn't support his claim that someone else was lying. And we're at four posts in a row now which started with an irrebuttable presumption that the Republican was lying. That's inexcusable for a publication that wants to tell the truth, much less one that's supposed to be at least presumptively conservative.

    1. I can appreciate that you disagree, but I don’t see how coming to a different conclusion from the same facts is lying. Are you saying he gave false facts to support his argument? Or that he deliberately hid facts that ran counter to his conclusion? If you are, I don’t see where. And if not, then calling him a liar is mere hyperbole.

      1. The claim in the title is that Pelosi tried to overturn Trump's ban on travel from China. The bill she promoted (and the House passed) would have overturned the ban on travel from China. Her contemporary statements indicate that she wasn't opposed to that outcome. Really, you'd need an exception in the bill itself to have a statement other than "yes" be true in this case. Absent that, the post is simply a lie and the person responsible for publishing it needs to lose his privileges to publish without a fact checker.

        1. I agree with Doug. A lie is a knowingintentional false or misleading statement. Let's break it down.

          1. During the first 3 years of his administration, Trump announced bans on travel from various predominately Muslim countries (Syria, Iran, etc).

          2. In late January, Trump announced a separate ban on travel from China due to coronavirus.

          3. In April 2019, House Democrats proposed the No Ban Act.

          4. There is some question whether the No Ban Act would limit or preclude the President's China travel ban. In my opinion, it clearly does not prohibit the China travel ban, but it could limit the duration. Anyway, in late January, Pelosi announced expedited consideration of the No Ban Act, for the stated reason of responding to the Trump administration's expansion of the ordinal travel bans (see #1 above) to other countries, such as Eritrea.

          5. Trump and supporters claim Pelosi through the No Ban Act was attempting to block the China travel ban related to coronavirus.

          Number 5 is classic Trump. Take some isolated fact or factual nuance (#4), and stretch into something very misleading (#5) that supports Trump's interests. This Dispatch Fact Check correctly pointed out #5 is untrue, regardless of the factual nuance in #4.

          1. The No Ban Act in question would have voided the Chinese Travel Ban. Unless that isn't true or Pelosi simultaneously proposed legislation that would have enacted the same ban, there's simply no room for someone to honestly claim that Pelosi wasn't trying to overturn that ban. And that's before we get to the fact that she was opposing the President referring to it as a Chinese virus around the same time. The lack of a specific reference isn't meaningful.

    2. I'm sorry, it's five posts in a row that started with the assumption that the Republican couldn't be telling the truth. You have the lie that Pompeo took both sides (he obviously misspoke), the unsupported assertion that Fauci wasn't persuaded to Trump's side on the travel ban (which appears to be what Trump claimed), the claim that the Obama administration left behind an actual plan (when what his administration produced can't be seriously described as a plan), the allegation that Eric Trump thinks the virus will magically go away (when in context is obviously referring to the media's attention), and this one.

      If I wanted this kind of anti-Republican bias, I'd read Vox. It goes beyond just TDS, since I think even David French would object to several of these. I've read your pieces and the underlying evidence and can't find support for your positions on any of the five. This one is definitely the worst, since the choices on title and subheading make it obviously untrue. And one of the best things about this feature are that those will show up even to people who don't read the piece... which means that you're lying to all of them.

    3. To prove the claim in the subheading, Dent would have needed to demonstrate that the No Ban Act wouldn't have overturned Trump's China ban. And, of course, he couldn't do that. If he wanted a narrower claim, he should have required it. But you quickly devolve into arguments about motives at that point, and claiming that Pelosi supported the travel ban at the time is clearly false.

      I can't stand Trump and won't vote for him. But this piece shouldn't be published anywhere, much less on a site that claims to be conservative. Conservatives think that truth is important, and this post is lying.

      1. I see absolutely no connection between the "No Ban" legislation and Trump's partial restriction of travel from China, as it seems quite clear that there is no overlap between the people defined in the act, and the people defined in Trump's restriction. I'm looking at the phrase that includes "aliens" and "religious." Reading something into it that's not there is what I think of as a basic component of conspiracy thinking.

        1. The No Ban Act would have included Trump's travel ban from China. Pelosi's caucus was actively opposing the travel ban and I've not seen any contemporaneous denunciations. She needs positive evidence that it wasn't related, not a lack of evidence, if you're going to put out a fact check about it.

          1. Can we return to the original statement that was being fact checked? It was that the No Ban act was Nancy P.'s opposition to Trump's partial travel restrictions. The reason it was not was that it preceded Trump's travel ban.
            What you're making is a distinction without a difference. There's no evidence issue at all.