Sen. Ted Cruz wants President Obama to show some "real leadership" and ignore the experts who are telling a travel ban would be counterproductive in stopping the spread of Ebola.
October 19, 2014

Never mind what the experts are telling the Obama administration, wingnut Sen. Ted Cruz wants that travel ban, and he wants it now.

Cruz: 'Biggest mistake' in Ebola response is letting flights continue:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday slammed President Obama for not instituting a travel ban on flights to and from West Africa.

During an interview on CNN’s "State of Union" show, Cruz said the “biggest mistake that continues to be made is that we continue to allow open commercial air flights.”

“We need to take a common-sense stand of suspending commercial air travel out of these countries,” Cruz said. “And for whatever reason, the Obama White House doesn’t want to.”

When asked what mistakes were made in Dallas when handling the first confirmed Ebola patient in the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, Cruz said the first mistake was letting Duncan come to the U.S.

“The first mistake that was made was letting Thomas Duncan get on an airplane and come to the U.S.,” he said.

It didn't faze Cruz one iota when Crowley pointed out that the travel ban would not have prevented Duncan from entering the U.S. because he did not fly directly out of Liberia, but went through Brussels instead. Cruz just shifted the goal posts and said he wanted to prevent anyone holding visas from the affected countries from traveling as well. He didn't elaborate on how he thinks we're supposed to enforce either ban to make sure not a single person ever slips through.

I'm sure whatever the Obama administration decides to do as this ordeal progresses, he'll find a way to be against it.

Transcript via CNN:

CRUZ: Throughout this process, there have been mistakes.

And -- and -- and, listen, dealing with a virus with an epidemic is -- is a learning process. It's obviously a learning process with -- with very high stakes. And so we can't afford mistakes. But -- but I am hopeful that the health professionals -- you know, the doctors and nurses and CDC officials who are risking their lives are -- are brave, courageous professionals.

And I'm hopeful we will continue to improve our response. But -- but...


CRUZ: ... the best thing to do is to minimize the initial contact with Ebola.

And I -- I have to say, Candy, it was over two weeks ago that I sent a letter to the FAA asking what they were doing to protect U.S. citizens to -- to stop commercial air travel out of these countries to protect the pilots, the flight attendants and the fellow passengers.

It's now been over two weeks. The FAA has not responded to those questions. And we have now seen both Democrats and Republicans coming together saying, listen, this is a basic, commonsense step. While there is an active epidemic raging, we should not be having commercial airline flights with up to 150 people a day coming to the U.S.


CRUZ: For whatever reason, Candy, the Obama White House is digging in and not listening to the voices of common sense coming from both sides of the aisle.

CROWLEY: Well, perhaps it is because the voices in the medical community, particularly Dr. Frieden has been one of them out there saying that this would be counterproductive.

I want to play you a little bit of what Dr. Frieden had to say about a travel ban.

CRUZ: Sure.


DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: Right now, we know who's coming in. If we try to eliminate travel, the possibility that some will travel over land, will come from other places, and we don't know that they're coming in will mean that we won't be able to do multiple things.

We won't be able to check them for fever when they leave. We won't be able to check them for fever when they arrive. We won't be able, as we do currently, to take a detailed history to see if they were exposed when they arrive.


CROWLEY: So, if you will, just respond to that and his concern, listen, you know, we won't be able to track these people because they will come in, in other places, and we won't know that they're entering the U.S.

CRUZ: Well, you know, Candy, the administration has given two arguments against a flight ban, neither of which makes sense.

The first one, they say, is they are putting screening in place, the argument you just played, that they have got screening in place in -- in five airports, and then that that should be our line of defense.

Now, I would note that they're -- they have omitted airports like DFW, where Mr. Duncan came. But -- but, more importantly, the screens only work if a passenger is demonstrating symptoms. Ebola, unfortunately, has up to a 21-day incubation period, where the -- where the patient has no demonstrated symptoms and walks right through the screenings.

Mr. Duncan, the one patient we know who did come from to -- from Liberia to America, would have traveled right through the screenings. The screening would not have stopped him because he was not presenting symptoms at that time.


I -- I -- let me ask you a couple things as regard to Mr. Duncan. He did indeed come to the U.S. from Liberia, but he went from Liberia, to Brussels, to Dulles International in Virginia, to Dallas-Fort Worth. So, how does a ban on air travel stop Mr. Duncan?

CRUZ: Because the visa he had coming in was a travel visa from Liberia. We should stop issuing travel visas from Liberia, which, interestingly enough, the neighboring countries in Africa have done.

What we need from the president is serious leadership to protect the American people. This shouldn't be a partisan issue. We should be protecting citizens of this country.

CROWLEY: Understood.

But, again, the -- the experts are telling the president -- the president is not a doctor. And if you were president, and NIH or the CDC were saying, hey, you know, this will only make it worse, a travel ban, a flight ban, will only make it worse, what we have in place is better, you would overrule the doctors and the experts?

CRUZ: But, Candy -- hey, Candy, the doctors and the experts that are saying this are working for the administration and repeating the administration talking points.

And their arguments don't make sense. The first argument about the screens doesn't make sense because they don't work during the 21- day incubation period. And the second argument that they make is, they say a travel ban would prevent health care relief workers from arriving in West Africa.

No one is talking about banning flights into West Africa. Of course, physicians and nurses and health care workers should be allowed to go in there. And we can send them in on charter flights or military C-130 aircraft with appropriate safety precautions.

That's very different from saying commercial airliners should fly day after day after day with hundreds of passengers connecting with thousands of passengers coming all throughout the country.


CRUZ: The arguments they're giving don't make sense. And -- and what is unfortunate is watching the Obama administration treat this as -- as yet another political issue, rather than as a public health crisis, for the same reason you have seen virtually no attention from the administration on the need to secure the southern border.

Now, that is notwithstanding the fact that General John Kelly, the commander of the Southern Command, just a week ago said if Ebola is transmitted to Central or South America, we will see a mass migration, the like of which we have never seen. And the administration, unfortunately, is not acting to protect our southern borders or to restrict commercial airline flights from places with an active outbreak.

And -- and that just doesn't make sense.

CROWLEY: And when you say -- just again, I want to put a period on this -- when you say banning flights, you mean withholding visas from those who want to travel to the U.S. coming from these three affected countries, correct?

CRUZ: Right. Absolutely.


CRUZ: We should not be allowing non-U.S. citizens traveling from these countries to fly into the United States right now, temporarily.

Look, we get the outbreak under control, it's a different story.


CRUZ: But when you have an active and growing epidemic, the first thing you want to do is contain it.


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