Now that nurse Kaci Hickox is defying a quarantine in Maine by riding her bicycle in front of news cameras, the White House is softening its approach to states with their own quarantine policies.
Earnest repeated that Obama supported policies “guided by science” but ultimately it was the states’ decision to create and implement their own policies. “The President also recognizes that it’s state officials’ responsibility to implement these policies,” he said.
That’s a stark contrast from the Obama administration’s efforts to walk back state quarantine policies created by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last weekend.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Obama administration officials “sought repeatedly to persuade Mr. Christie and Mr. Cuomo to reconsider the quarantines, which they viewed as not just unnecessary but counterproductive.”
In subsequent speeches, Obama lectured state officials for creating quarantine policies that were based on fear and not science. “When I hear people talking about American leadership, and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under the covers, it makes me a little frustrated,” Obama said on Thursday.