In the wake of news that an American doctor who recently returned from West Africa tested positive for Ebola in New York City, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis called on President Obama to start exhibiting leadership.
“The American people are looking to the President for steady leadership and competence they have yet to see, which in turn has created a crisis of confidence,” Tillis, a Republican in a tight race for U.S. Senate against Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), said in a statement Friday.
Tillis noted that the recent appointment of Ron Klain as the “Ebola czar” gave the “impression that Obama is more concerned about political optics than actually addressing Ebola.”
Thursday Craig Spencer, a doctor who had recently been treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, tested positive for Ebola in New York City. The results set off a search for any contacts he may have had before going to the hospital and more calls for tighter protocols.
“We must immediately act to protect Americans and help stop the spread of Ebola in Western Africa,” Tillis said Friday. “The latest Ebola diagnosis in the United States demonstrates the need for improved safety protocols to monitor American health care workers who return after treating Ebola patients.”
Tillis stressed his original call for a travel ban and voiced support for Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) bill to temporarily ban new visas for nationals from Ebola-stricken countries.
“It’s disappointing that the President still refuses to support a travel ban while Sen. Hagan has not taken any initiative on even commented on this important bill,” Tillis said. “The United States must play a leading humanitarian role by expediting the production and delivery of Ebola vaccines to treat patients and contain the spread of the virus.
He concluded his statement by stressing that the matter is not be partisan but that “our country is in desperate need of decisive leadership in order to adequately address the threat of Ebola.”
To date the Obama administration has refused to impose a travel ban but has instituted some new protocols for travelers from West Africa, such as monitoring them for Ebola symptoms for 21 days after they arrive in the U.S.