Donald Trump, headed to Iowa this weekend to fundraise for a Republican lawmaker, says the Ebola crisis is more “proof of the president’s incompetence” that could ultimately hurt Democrats at the polls in November.
Speaking by phone with The Daily Caller, the New York businessman sharply criticized President Barack Obama for refusing to restrict commercial flights from Ebola-stricken countries in Africa. An increasing number of Republicans, like Speaker of the House John Boehner, have called on Obama to enact a temporary flight ban.
“It’s incredible,” Trump said of Obama. “Nobody can understand it. He’s either stubborn, incompetent, not smart, listening to the wrong people. Nobody can understand it.”
Asked how he thinks Ebola will affect the midterms, Trump said, “It shows in one sense that Obama continues to be incompetent. Because he’s not stopping the flights to and from West Africa, which are the hotspots…It is just madness.”
But Trump argued that the country’s focus on Ebola might actually hurt Republican messaging heading into the elections.
“The bad news is it’s taking away from Obamacare and how devastating it is to people,” Trump said. “Because people aren’t thinking about anything other than Ebola….it’s sort of taking their focus off what a poor job he’s doing.”
Trump said he is baffled by Obama’s refusal to consider flight bans.
“I understand different viewpoints from people,” he said. “I’m on different sides of issues with lots of people. And usually, I understand the other side. The first thing you have to do as a great deal-maker is understand the other side. And I always understand the other side. In this case, I don’t. What is the purpose of not stopping the flights? And many other countries are doing it. And countries in Africa are doing it.”
“I believe that he’ll be forced to reverse,” Trump said, “but you know, hopefully it won’t be too late.”
For weeks now, Trump has been sounding the alarm on Ebola, especially on social media. Asked about a recent tweet, Trump said: “How do you like my Twitter? Amazing stuff right?”
“It’s like owning The New York Times without the losses,” he said, pointing out that he reaches nearly 5 million people between Twitter and Facebook.
Trump said sometimes he types his tweets himself, other times he directs his staff to do it for him.
“I do both,” he said. “I will dictate it sometimes. You know, during the day usually I’ll dictate it. Because I have people, many people, in my office that can do it. During the evening, that’s all by myself. They seem to be the better ones.”
One of the things Trump has tweeted about recently is Obama’s order to send American troops to Africa to help fight the outbreak.
“We shouldn’t be sending 4,000 innocent, ill-equipped and ill-trained soldiers to fight Ebola,” Trump told TheDC. “Because if they catch it, what are they going to do? That’s not what they signed up for, and that’s not what they should be doing in a foreign country. We should send medical people if they want.”
“We send thousands and thousands of soldiers over to West Africa who don’t even know the first thing about Ebola,” he said. “Many of them have even heard the word until a couple of weeks ago. And now they’re fighting Ebola.”
On Saturday, Trump heads to Iowa to fundraise for incumbent Republican Rep. Steve King.
“I really like Steve. I’ve watched him over the years. And I’ve become friendly with him. He’s got tremendous viewpoints, and viewpoints that very much concur with mine,” he said.
Trump said he often meets with Republican candidates at Trump tower, but he doesn’t go out on the trail as frequently.
“Well, I love Iowa,” he said.