Interviews

Rep. Kelly: White House worries more about message than mission

Reaction to handling of Ebola crisis

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 20, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, you want to know why I'm worried about Ebola? Because they certainly don't seem to be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Confident to the point that I don't think the American people should worry about it. Do I put it if off my radar screen and say, ah, that's not something I worry about? Trust me. I worry about it all the time, but I should do the worrying, not the American people.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We may see more isolated cases here in America, but we know how to wage this fight.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So far, no one with Ebola symptoms has entered this country. So, I recognize that you might describe that as zero percent success rate, but, to date, it's evident to me that we have a 100 percent success rate.

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: But there is no doubt we can break the links of -- that -- the links in the chain of transmission. We have done it before, and we will do it here. And the team in Dallas is doing an excellent job making sure that happens.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

CAVUTO: All right. Now, I was pretty calm before all this, but then I got a little less calm when people told me to stay calm.

I was calm, but that got me kind of not calm. It kind of reminds me how everybody said after Hurricane Sandy that everything was dandy. Remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, D-N.Y.: Federal officials, FEMA, et cetera, and the local officials have been working as one coordinated effort.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: I would to thank the governor and his whole team for the great job they have done.

CUOMO: We're making progress and we have been making progress every day since the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have done a phenomenal job and they have gotten New York back on its feet again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has not stopped his advocacy from the moment the storm hit New York.

CUOMO: I was pleased and it was my honor to work in such a productive -- productive effort that really focused on getting things done.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

CAVUTO: All right. I said this before, but every time politicians are patting themselves on the back, someone is about to kick you in the heinie. That's all I'm saying.

And you can count Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Mike Kelly very worried as well, although he will be more circumspect than I will here.

But, Congressman, that concerns me, because I was not really worried about this Ebola thing until everyone told me not to worry about this Ebola thing, until we sent 3,000 troops to Liberia, until we started then repositioning how hazmat suits should be fitted, until we started saying the CDC wasn't doing a good enough job, so we had to have a czar oversee the CDC.

Then I started getting worried. Should I be?

REP. MIKE KELLY, R-PA.: Well, I think you need to be very worried.

And, again, consistent with this administration, they worry more about the message than the mission. They worry more about something that is going wrong with the -- with what they're talking about than what we should be worried about.

Listen, this is a disease that is absolutely, incredibly, incredibly adds to the chance of you not surviving. It liquefies your internal organs. Neil, when I hear what they're saying -- and when I first heard Dr. Frieden, I was like you. I said, you know what? Sounds pretty good. Then I looked into this background. He was with -- he is the soda pop doc, the New York doc that says more -- he is more concerned with sugary drinks.

So, they appoint Mr. Klain. And I'm thinking, well, maybe that is a step in the right direction. Then I find out that he is not really a doctor. He is a spin doctor. And you start to worry then about...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, but to fair...

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Are we really worried about the message or the mission?

CAVUTO: No, I understand, Congressman, where you're coming from.

And I -- I don't think -- there are enough medical experts here. Klain in his case has -- knows where -- how the various bodies of government and authority operate. George Bush, when he was dealing with SARS, dealt with a similar official.

That, in and of itself, doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that we keep adding layers here. The Pentagon now has these 30-odd officers who are going to oversee this. Who is overseeing all of this? Now, if it's Mr. Klain, that is one thing. But I suspect that they're all doing things autonomously, much as we did right after Homeland Security was born, each fiefdom operating independently of the other.

KELLY: Well, that's where leadership comes into. You have to have somebody at the head pulling people together with a strategy that is actually going to work?

CAVUTO: Who is that? Who is that?

KELLY: Well, it's supposed to be the president, through his ability, through his office, his executive offices, able to direct the country in a way that we have trust and faith and confidence.

And I think what we see time after time is that it's a false confidence. We find out it's not a true message. And then it's damage control and not disease control. And I think that's where the American people are losing faith. They're saying, it's not what we were told. Why do we have to keep going back and saying...

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: ... when you appoint people who didn't understand.

CAVUTO: When you say not what we were told -- I understand.

When you say not what we were told, not the assurance we -- assurances we were originally given...

KELLY: Right.

CAVUTO: ... because they will come back and say, well, you have had two cases here in the U.S. We have got this well under control. It's nothing like it is over there. We're focusing on eradicating or helping the Liberians eradicate this over there, so we are actually doing all the right things. You say no?

KELLY: No, we're not, because in 2005, there were directions or regulations that came out of the CDC that talked about changing our quarantine laws and looking about infectious diseases.

We have not addressed it in 35 years, Neil. Now, in 2010, and oddly...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But would you shut down flights going out there and flights coming from there?

KELLY: Well, of course. I'm listen, that's common sense.

I would rather overreact right now. I would rather err on the caution side and then later on say, listen, blame me for overreacting, but I wanted to protect the American people. I just think it doesn't make sense.

You know, in April of 2010, the Obama administration scrapped those ideas very secretly about what they wanted to do and how they were going to address issues that were worldwide. Now we come around to where are today and say we knew about this.

We knew about this outbreak back in March, and we have been sitting on it, not making decisions that would protect the American people. That is not leadership.

CAVUTO: All right.

KELLY: That's not taking the country in a direction that they have faith and confidence. That's what we're supposed to do.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very, very much.

KELLY: Thank you.

CAVUTO: By the way, now we have yet another official to tell us that everything is going to be just fine. That might be all well and good, but forth about our new Ebola czar's lack of medical background. I have got a problem with something else.

That's all right there for you to see. You can check out my daily column on our FoxBusiness.com site, where I get a chance to expand on a lot of the issues we talk about and many others that we don't in a more detailed and maybe too detailed fashion. But I think it warrants a place on the web for us to get into a lot of these intricacies that broadcasts will not allow.

So, I hope you see that, because it raises some of the concerns the congressman has and some objections the Democrats have had about what the congressman says. Fair and balanced on FoxBusiness.com.

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