Airlines Suspended China Flights Before Trump Did

Dan Anderson/ZUMA

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Since Donald Trump is once again boasting about his semi-ban on travel from China, I’d like to remind everyone of something that seems to have disappeared down the memory hole. Here is the New York Times on January 31:

Moving to counter the spreading coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration said Friday that it would bar entry by most foreign nationals who had recently visited China and put some American travelers under a quarantine as it declared a rare public health emergency. The temporary restrictions followed announcements by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines that they would suspend air service between the United States and China for several months.

Trump didn’t act until after the three biggest American airlines, along with nearly every other international airline, had already suspended flights to China. In other words, when it didn’t really matter anymore. He didn’t have the guts to do it before then.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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