Rep. Gardner: Ebola travel ban 'not about politics'

Reaction to handling of Ebola crisis


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 16, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: The CDC director very much on the hot seat today.

To one of the guys trying to get some answers, Colorado Republican Congressman and Senate candidate Cory Gardner.

By the way, we did call his opponent, Senator Mark Udall, and he was unable to join us.

Mr. Gardner, welcome to the program. Good to see you, sir.

REP. CORY GARDNER, R-COLO.: Good to see you.

VARNEY: Is a travel ban -- I know you were involved in the questioning today. It doesn't look like we're going to get a travel ban from this White House anytime soon, does it?

GARDNER: Well, I don't understand why the White House, why the CDC is opposed to a travel ban.

In fact, if you listen to the excuses the CDC director gave today, he said, we can't do it because of personnel and supplies. When I asked what number of flights, personnel and supplies were entering the area from the U.S., he said he didn't know. So, how can he oppose a travel ban on something that he doesn't even know the answer to?

VARNEY: Is a travel ban going to be part of an issue in your campaign in Colorado?

GARDNER: Look, this is not about politics. This isn't about an election.

This is about a -- as Dr. Borio from the FDA said, a global -- a tragic global event. And that's what have to do to prevent this from becoming even more tragic, and I believe travel restrictions, a travel ban from the affected area is something that would protect the people of this country from further harm.

VARNEY: But in your race against Senator Udall, you have made a strong point about Mr. Udall being closely tied with President Obama. You try to run against President Obama. President Obama doesn't want a travel ban. Surely, this has become politicized in your race?

GARDNER: Well, again, I think my problems with Senator Udall include the fact that he has voted 99 percent of the time with Barack Obama, but on this part issue, this is not about politics. This transcends politics.

And we have to do everything we can to make sure that we're protecting the people of this country and, quite frankly, the world from further spread of what is a horrible, horrible virus.

VARNEY: John Boehner spoke with the president today and urged him to ban travel from the hot zones of West Africa. Your comment on that?

GARDNER: I think the speaker is wise to do that. I think the president would be wise to listen to advice of Speaker Boehner and implement this travel ban.

Look, further reasoning that the director of CDC, Dr. Frieden, gave today almost sounded like they would -- if this were a school district, it almost sounds like they'd rather gather up the children with chicken pox, put them all in the school and allow them to stay there, and infect other children, instead of actually keeping them home and keeping them away from other people.

So, this is something that I think we need to put in place as a restriction of some kind to protect the American people. It makes sense. We can do it. We know we can do it and it would protect the people from, again, further, further spread.

VARNEY: In your race in Colorado, the normally left-leaning Denver Post actually endorsed you, and then Gary Hart wrote to The Denver Post and ripped into you, saying you are not a serious candidate.

Would you like to respond to that?

GARDNER: Well, again, I think there was an article in Politico about Gary Hart ruining politics, and everybody knows his claim to fame. So, I'm not too worried about what Gary Hart thinks about, and he can take his monkey business other -- other places.



Are you running again President Obama? Are you taking aim directly at President Obama as the leader of the Democrats?

GARDNER: You know, if you look at the president, he himself has said that his policies are going to be on the ballot, that the policies of his administration are going to be voted on.

And I think that's something that people will fill out the ballots as they have in the mail today in Colorado over the next several weeks, leading to November 4. They are going to be voting on the failed leadership of Barack Obama and Mark Udall, who has voted with him hook, line and sinker.

VARNEY: Mr. Gardner, it's just crossing the wires that President Obama is going to call up some members of the National Guard to deploy in West Africa. He can do that quickly and effectively. Your comment on that?

GARDNER: Well, again, that's something I need to learn more about. Have not seen the decision by the president or the order to do that.

But it still makes me wonder why he is unwilling to put in place some kind of a travel restriction to protect the people of this country.

VARNEY: Sir, you seem rather soft-edged on this. If you're gung ho for a travel ban, why aren't you pounding the table?

GARDNER: Well, we certainly did at the committee hearing today, and we will continue to.

But I think we have to make sure that we're not -- we're not frightening the American people. This is a very serious situation. And I want to make sure that we do this right. I believe a travel ban, travel restriction is the right way to do it.

I'm also concerned about the fact that the director of the CDC said that there were 100 to 150 people entering this country from the effective area -- from the affected areas. And 94 percent of them are going to be screened. And so at that rate, there are going to be 2,000 to 3,000 people who are coming into the United States whose temperatures will not be checked, who will not go through the Ebola screening.

And that's something that I think we brought up at the hearing as well and we have to answers, more answers to make sure we're protecting the people.

VARNEY: Republican Cory Gardner, thanks very much for joining us, sir. Appreciate it.

GARDNER: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

VARNEY: Yes, sir.

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