As countries ban US travelers, Team Trump argues against int'l travel

As much of the world closes its doors to Americans, the Trump campaign's position, in effect, is that international travel isn't so great.
Image: The border crossing into the United States from Lacolle, Canada, in 2017.
The border crossing into the United States from Lacolle, Canada, in 2017.Christinne Muschi / Reuters file
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By Steve Benen

As coronavirus infection rates climb in the United States, members of the European Union have decided to block American travelers from their countries. Our allies in the U.K. aren't eager to see us, either.

Closer to home, the U.S./Canada border is still closed to travelers, though Politico reported this week that many U.S. lawmakers are pressuring Ottawa and D.C. to ease restrictions. The trouble is, few Canadians want to welcome their American neighbors any time soon.

Canadians -- and some of their most prominent political leaders -- are staunchly opposed to hosting American visitors while the U.S. breaks records on confirmed Covid-19 infections on a daily basis. Ontario Premier Doug Ford warned weeks ago against reopening the border, and British Columbia health authorities have released data showing that a large share of the virus strains identified there originated in Washington state. Polling released last week by Abacus Data shows that 89 percent of Canadians want to see the border stay closed longer.

This is, of course, a bit of a national embarrassment. As many of the world's leading powers adjust to a post-crisis dynamic, the United States is struggling to the point that our allies are politely telling us to stay out of their countries.

But as the HuffPost noted yesterday, Donald Trump's campaign team has come up with a new spin to make this less embarrassing.

Border restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States were officially extended until Aug. 21 this week amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But a spokesperson for U.S. president Donald Trump’s campaign says he can’t imagine why Americans would want to come to Canada anyway.

CNN's Brianna Keilar reminded Trump campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley that Canada won't let Americans in due to coronavirus fears. Gidley reportedly replied, “I’m not sure why you would want to go to Canada when we live in the greatest country on the face of the planet, that’s Donald Trump’s mentality on it."

The comment led the host to reply, “Well, if you want to get away from coronavirus you might."

So to recap, as much of the world closes its doors to Americans, the Trump campaign's position, in effect, is that international travel isn't so great. It's a reflection of the president's "mentality."