Biden Draws Criticism For Labeling U.S. Allies ‘Xenophobic’ Alongside Adversaries

President Joe Biden is facing criticism after referring to key U.S. allies Japan and India as “xenophobic” while discussing immigration at a campaign fundraiser Wednesday. The president grouped the two nations together with adversaries Russia and China suggesting their economic struggles are due to a lack of openness to immigrants.

“Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants,” Biden said according to an official White House transcript. The comments were not included in an initial pool report but later confirmed in the official record.\

The remarks come just weeks after Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for a state visit and nearly a year after a similar honor was extended to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both nations are considered crucial U.S. partners in countering China’s growing global influence.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to clarify Biden’s statement Thursday saying he was trying to make a broader point about the United States’ identity as a nation built by immigrants. “He was saying that when it comes to who we are as a nation we are a nation of immigrants that is in our DNA,” she said.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he was unaware of any communications between the White House and the governments of Japan or India regarding the president’s comments.

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