Paul: Obama not doing enough to fight Ebola

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon to take bigger role in vetting foreign students after Pensacola shooting Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Rand Paul: 'We need to re-examine' US-Saudi relationship after Florida shooting MORE (R-Ky.) said Friday he remains deeply skeptical about President Obama’s ability to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the U.S., claiming that federal health officials are still underplaying the risks.

Paul said while he doesn’t want the government to incite panic over Ebola, he doesn’t believe the administration has been entirely transparent about the threat.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I understand people in government not wanting to create panic, and I don't want to create panic, either. But I think it's also a mistake on the other side of the coin to underplay the risk of this,” Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Federal health officials have repeatedly tried to calm public fears about the disease after it was diagnosed in the U.S. on Sept. 30. The patient’s death on Wednesday renewed fears about Ebola, which had turned fatal despite treatment from a large U.S. hospital.

Obama, as well as the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have maintained that the American healthcare system is well-equipped to prevent an outbreak. 

He has also cautioned that no national strategy against Ebola can be 100 percent effective until the disease is contained in West Africa. The U.S. has committed nearly $1.5 billion to fight the disease overseas. 

But Paul, who is a potential contender for the White House in 2016, argued the administration is not doing enough.

The Kentucky senator said he believes the U.S. should temporarily suspend flights from Ebola-stricken countries. Dozens of other Republican lawmakers have supported the measure, though global health organizations have warned that the move could actually worsen the crisis and put the U.S. at greater risk. 

Instead, the Obama administration has added extra Ebola screenings at five U.S. airports that are highly trafficked by West African travelers. 

Paul said flight suspensions would be a more effective way to reduce risk for American travelers.

“I mean, if you want to visit your son or daughter and you're coming from Liberia, couldn't you wait a couple of months?” he said.

Paul, who has a medical degree, made waves earlier this month when he accused the Obama administration of “underplaying” the threat. He warned Ebola “could get beyond our control."

The day after his comments, Paul’s father, former Sen. Ron Paul (R-Texas), warned against an "overreaction" to the disease.