Georgia Senate Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn released a statement on Friday altering her position on the current Ebola crisis. Nunn originally said she would defer to “the CDC and other scientists and public health practitioners” on how the administration should respond. However, after members of Congress had grilled CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden on Thursday at a hearing, she changed her stance and called for “temporary” travel restrictions for everyone except military and aid workers.
According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Nunn said in the release:
As we continue to gain new information about this horrible disease, our public health officials should take every precaution to make sure that it doesn’t spread. I support a temporary travel ban to affected countries in West Africa with an exception for military and health workers. Scientists and public health experts at the CDC are in the best position to guide our response to this crisis, but our leaders in Washington must provide clear, bipartisan and strong leadership as well as the resources we need to stop the spread of Ebola.”
Frieden made a similar recommendation on Fox News Channel’s The Kelly File when he stated on Tuesday,
“We’ve already recommended that all non-essential travel to these countries be stopped for Americans,” Frieden stated. “We’ve already put into place screening at the airports where people are leaving and screening at airports where people are arriving here.”
In contrast, Nunn’s GOP opponent businessman David Perdue released his own statement on the issue and supports broader travel restrictions into the U.S. : Georgia is now at the forefront of our national response to Ebola. President Obama once again failed to lead and took a serious threat far too lightly….Georgians deserve to know their government is handling our domestic response to Ebola with a sense of urgency. The Obama administration must protect Americans with an aggressive comprehensive plan to stop the spread of this deadly disease, including immediate flight and travel restrictions to prevent additional individuals from entering the United States from Ebola-stricken countries.”
After reading Nunn’s statement on Fox News Channel’s Special Report, host Brett Baier said to the panel, “Nobody is worried about the ‘to’,” he said. “They’re worried about the ‘from’.”
The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes responded, “Well that’s the argument the administration is giving. We can’t have a travel ban’from’ these countries, because it would be in effect a travel ban to these countries. It’s bogus argument but maybe she’s giving support to that argument.”
“We asked for a clarification to see if that was just the wrong word they used, but we never got one,” said Baier.
“It make no sense,” Charles Krauthammer agreed.
Republicans are calling for a travel ban to and from nations that have been greatly affected by the Ebola virus.
The retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) put out a joint press release with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) calling “for restricted travel from Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa to the U.S.”.
“I support implementing travel restrictions from Ebola-affected nations in West Africa to the United States. I believe exceptions can and should be made for essential personnel to carry out our mission of stopping the spread of Ebola at the source,” Chambliss stated.
“As a member of the Senate health committee, I believe that, given the transmission of Ebola in Dallas that originated from a passenger flying from West Africa, we need to temporarily restrict nonessential travel to the United States from Ebola-affected countries,” Isakson concurred.
House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement on Wednesday that “a temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that a travel ban to and from these affected countries “would limit the ability of the broader international community to mobilize the response; that getting personnel, medical experts, equipment and supplies into West Africa relies on the functioning of the transportation system. So the strong preference here is to keep the transportation system open, but safe.”
UPDATE: Georgia’s WMAZ asked Nunn about her statement the campaign released on Friday. Nunn, reiterated her support for a travel ban, with the exception of military and health personnel, to the afflicted areas in West Africa.