New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has had a rough go of it the past few days. Over the weekend, the embattled Republican governor and potential 2016 Presidential candidate forcibly quarantined a nurse returning from West Africa who had been treating Ebola patients. Kaci Hickox was forced to reside in an unheated tent with no shower, an unflushable portable toilet and no television despite being asymptomatic.
Eventually, Christie reversed course and allowed Hickox to return to her home state of Maine to spend the rest of the 21-day quarantine period in her residence. This was after Hickox and the ACLU both threatened lawsuits. Hickox had also written a blistering op-ed in a Dallas newspaper and done a phone interview with CNN slamming Christie and his lack of knowledge on Ebola. Hickox and her lawyers are still fighting the 21-day requirement for self-quarantine in Maine due to her not showing symptoms.
During Monday night’s episode of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart devoted a segment to New York and New Jersey and how they’ve responded to Ebola. He played a clip of Hickox saying Christie not only isn’t a doctor, but hasn’t even verified whether she was displaying symptoms or not before quarantining her. This was followed by a clip of Christie at a fundraising event in Florida dismissing Hickox’s frustration at being quarantined, saying she’ll understand “when she’s had time to reflect.” Stewart exclaimed, “Why does Christie have to be such a d*ck about everything?!?!”
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Comedy Central:
Christie appeared on the Today Show Tuesday morning to defend his actions and reiterate his support for mandatory 21-day quarantines of travelers from West Africa that may appear to show symptoms or have knowingly been exposed to Ebola patients. Essentially, this means any health worker returning back to the United States after caring for those infected with the Ebola virus will be required to spend 21 days in quarantine. A number of experts and the Centers for Disease Control have stated that not only are these mandatory quarantines unnecessary, they will likely be counter-productive. They feel that the best way to contain a potential Ebola outbreak is to treat it where it is currently spreading. To force quarantines on doctors and nurses disincentives them to travel and potentially causes the problem to get worse in those countries.
When host Matt Lauer — who was admirably tough on the governor throughout the interview — brought this up to Christie, the governor basically said he knew more than the CDC and experts and that eventually they will come around to his way of thinking.
“We want stricter things than what they have been willing to (propose) and now they’re incrementally … moving toward our position. This is because they don’t want to admit we’re right and they’re wrong.”
In Christie’s mind, the CDC knows nothing about diseases or how to treat them. Instead, we should listen to politicians who are looking to show ‘strong leadership’ by unnecessarily forcing heroes into imprisonment. Sure, Christie isn’t a doctor or a scientist. But, when it comes to dealing with how to treat a disease or contain any potential outbreaks, he knows best. It is his way or the highway. Eventually, science will come around to his way of thinking. Because, that’s what LEADERS do.
Below is video of Christie’s segment on the Today Show, courtesy of NBC:
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).