On Friday, the White House did not take an Ebola travel ban off the table, but insisted that the best way to protect the American people from Ebola is not to institute a travel ban or temporarily suspend visas from West Africa.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that a travel ban is an option that will “continue to be on the table but is not one that is being considered right now” because it “could have a pretty perverse effect.” He added that it could give people “an incentive to not be candid about their travel history.”
Earnest also reiterated what President Barack Obama said on Thursday when he told reporters that a travel ban would not keep Americans safe.
“I don’t have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe,” Obama told reporters at the White House. However, he continued by saying that “it is currently the judgment of all of those involved that a flat-out travel ban is not the best way to go.”
Earnest asserted that not instituting a travel ban “reflects the President’s commitment to putting the protection of the American public at the top of the priority list when it comes to making decisions about things like a travel ban.”
African nations have been containing Ebola by instituting travel bans and closing borders, but Earnest said the White House agrees with “experts” who think that it is “not in the best interest of the safety and health of the American people for a travel or visa ban to be put in place.” The White House is willing “to keep an open mind as we evaluate the changing circumstances,” said Earnest.