In an appearance on talk radio host Laura Ingraham’s show on Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) stoked irrational fears of the hemorrhagic fever Ebola by comparing it to a cruise ship virus. The possible 2016 GOP hopeful also said that President Barack Obama is endangering the health and safety of U.S. citizens by sending troops to the disease-stricken region of West Africa.
Talking Points Memo reported that the Libertarian-leaning Paul blamed “political correctness” for the government’s refusal to treat Ebola as an urgent threat to Americans’ health.
“I really think it is being dominated by political correctness,” he told Ingraham. “And I think because of political correctness, we’re not really making sound, rational, scientific decisions on this.”
The former ophthalmologist opined earlier in the interview that Pres. Obama is placing U.S. troops at risk by sending 3,000 soldiers to West Africa to help maintain order and protect medical workers.
“Where is disease most transmittable? When you’re in very close confines on a ship,” Paul speculated. “We all know about cruises and how they get these diarrhea viruses that are transmitted very easily and the whole ship gets sick. Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers catch Ebola?”
Paul is confusing diseases like norovirus — an airborne illness that spreads easily in confined populations — with Ebola, which is mostly spread from patient to caregiver through direct contact with contaminated bodily fluids like vomit, sputum, blood and feces. Ebola cannot be spread through casual contact.