DNC head accuses Rand Paul of politicizing Ebola

Republicans have unfairly used the Ebola crisis to stoke public fears and hurl criticism at President Obama, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) said on Sunday.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman pointed to Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill MORE (R-Ky.), who last week said the virus was easier to catch than many think and could infect people three feet away from a patient.

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“When you have Republican senators like Rand Paul — who’s a doctor who should know better — who are saying you can be three feet from somebody who has Ebola and get it, that is an example of how Republicans are politicizing it,” she said on “Fox News Sunday."

“This is an issue that should not be politicized.”

Last week, Paul told a group of college students that the virus could be easier to contract than AIDS.

“No one's going to cough on you and you're going to get AIDS... That's what they make it sound exactly like," Paul said, according to The Associated Press.

"But then you listen to them closely, they say you have to have direct contact," he added. "But you know how they define direct contact? Being within three feet of someone."

"The DNC should review what the Center for Disease Control has to say in regards to Ebola. Senator Paul was merely reiterating the Center for Disease Control guidelines that being within 3 feet does in fact present a risk of exposure," said Paul spokesman Sergio Gor in an email to The Hill late Sunday.

Though Ebola does not travel through the air, health professionals discourage people from coming in close contact with a patient to avoid the possible spread of their fluids.  

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and said that President Obama’s fumbled response to the crisis is part of a pattern.

“I think that we should try to refrain from making it a political issue, but I think the problem is that Americans... have lost confidence in this president’s ability to lead,” he said.

--This report was updated at 7:38 p.m.