October 17, 2021

Obama Silent on Ebola Case in Dallas

 WH: We Can Stop Spread of Ebola in Its Tracks

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reaffirmed the administration’s confidence in the CDC’s ability to keep the Ebola virus from spreading. (Oct. 1)

President Obama will not talk about the Ebola case in Dallas, although administration officials are working hard to signal that he remains fully aware of the situation and is demonstrating leadership.

Hours after the Center for Disease control revealed on September 30 that Thomas Eric Duncan had been diagnosed with the disease in Dallas, the White House Press office revealed that Obama had also been briefed on the case.

The White House released a photo of Obama speaking on the phone with the Director of the Center for Disease Control about the situation.

While Obama remains silent on the issue, government officials are working overtime to reassure Americans that the federal government is taking the proper steps to address the situation.

Obama’s silence is markedly different than two weeks earlier, when he reassured the nation that the chance of an outbreak in the United States was “extremely low.”

“In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus,” he explained during a speech on September 16.

Obama made no mention of the case on October 1 as he spoke to the press prior to a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and he did not take any questions. Later in the day, he held an event recognizing the Major League Soccer Cup champions, without mentioning the disease.

“I think what the President is eager to ensure is that the advice of medical professionals, particularly those experts at the CDC, are being followed,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained to reporters quizzing the administration during the White House press briefing on October 1.

Obama then traveled aboard Air Force One to Chicago, stayed the night in his old home, dined with friends, and attended a fundraiser before publicly addressing Americans on the health of the economy.

“It’s America–our doctors, our scientists, our know-how–that leads the fight to contain and combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa,” Obama said during his speech, without acknowledging the case in Dallas.

After his speech, the White House Press Office revealed that Obama had phoned Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings “to make sure the Mayor was getting the resources he needed from the federal government.”

On Friday, Obama held another event on the economy in Princeton, Indiana, but Earnest assured reporters that he would not address Ebola that day and did not have any plans to address it in the near future. Earnest also revealed that the following Monday, Obama would be meeting about Ebola with members of his administration, but he did not specify whether he would publicly address the case in Dallas after the meeting.

Later that day, the White House held a special briefing on the case in Dallas with senior administration officials, including Health and Humans Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health.

After returning to the White House late Friday night, President Obama did not respond to several questions reporters shouted about Ebola.

On Saturday, October 4, Obama traveled to Andrews Air Force Base for an afternoon golf outing before going out to dinner with the first lady to celebrate their anniversary.

According to the White House schedule, the White House will allow a brief photo-op after the Ebola meeting on Monday.