Rand Paul suggests a halt on ‘elective travel,’ criticizes Obama

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says that the US government should limit ‘elective travel’ for American flyers from Ebola-hit nations on “Face The Nation” Sunday. In the interview, Paul criticized Obama for downplaying the Ebola threat and said that ‘elective travel,’ such as visits to family or friends, should be temporarily limited between America and Ebola-ridden countries. He was careful to specify that the ban should not apply to shipments of humanitarian aid or health-care workers.

Last week, Associated Press reported that Paul suggested that Ebola was more contagious and easier to contract than AIDS to a group of college students. He pointed out that Ebola was transmitted through direct contacted, but that direct contacted was defined as being within three feet of someone.

The graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine admitted that the quarantine issue was a complicated one that nevertheless “horrified” his libertarian side in an interview with CNN. The main point of contention resides within due process and habeas corpus – mainly that the potential sick person can be held indefinitely for fear of her spreading the disease.

The comments come after continued tension between state authorities and nurse Kaci Hickox, who was involuntarily detained near Newark Airport after returning from Sierra Leone. The nurse came home and refused to be quarantined, insisting that she was monitoring herself according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines. On Friday, a Maine judge ruled in favor of Hickox, who asserted that authorities had no proof that she required a stricter Ebola quarantine.

Hickox and Chris Christie (R-NJ) publically argued last week about her time spent in an isolation tent. She accused Christie for politicizing the disease and her own prolonged quarantine.

Both Chris Christie and Rand Paul are potential candidates for the 2016 presidential election. When asked about the New Jersey representative on CBS’s Face the Nation, Paul said that Christie had a “bullying demeanor.” While Paul seems torn about the question of Ebola safety versus individual freedom in the CNN interview, he toed the line by suggesting reasonable precautions such as avoiding public areas if you may have the disease.