Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul accused the Obama administration of foolishly letting “political correctness” dominate its decision-making in dealing with the Ebola virus, which has now been diagnosed for the first time on American soil.
“I really think it is being dominated by political correctness,” Paul said Wednesday on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, referencing comments from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agency downplaying the risk of infection to Americans. “And I think because of political correctness, we’re not really making sound, rational, scientific decisions on this.”
Said Paul, an ophthalmologist: “For example, if you’re [having] a worldwide conference of African leaders right now, wouldn’t it make sense to delay it for four months and not have them all come to New York City? It’s ridiculous for them to be underplaying this threat and saying no big deal.”
In August, the White House decided to continue hosting its U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington despite the Ebola outbreak.
“I’ve been saying this for about a month now,” the Republican senator said. “It’s a mistake. A big mistake to underestimate the potential for problems worldwide.”
The United States has sent several thousand troops to Africa to help Ebola-stricken countries fight the disease. On Wednesday, Paul expressed concern, saying disease is most transmittable in a very close-confined area, like a ship.
“Imagine if a whole shipload of our soldiers get Ebola?” Paul said. “I’m concerned about this. It’s a big mistake to downplay it, and act as if oh this is not a big deal, we can control all of this. This could get beyond our control.”
Paul argued on the show that: “we really should not underestimate the transmissibility of this.”
“Think about the people who are getting this that we brought back home … the doctors and nurses who have completely gloved, gowned and masked,” he said. “And they’re still getting it.”
Paul referenced how the CDC said Ebola is transferred just through bodily fluids. “My suspicion is its a lot more transmissible than that.”
Paul also said there be a “serious discussion, if not action” on stopping travel to and from Ebola stricken countries, though said he isn’t sure yet if that’s the right course of action.
“I think it would have to be a realistic option to shut down flights to certain countries at this point, but I would want to know all the information before I made the decision,” Paul said.