Right-wing media are using President Obama's plan to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as another opportunity to attack him. Conservatives are calling the president a “hypocrite” because he's sending “more soldiers to fight Ebola than we are sending to fight ISIS”; labeling the plan “arrogant” because of problems with HealthCare.gov; and accusing him of trying to “change the subject” by “fighting a really bad flu bug.”
The White House announced on September 16 that the United States would send 3,000 troops to Africa to help combat the Ebola threat. The U.S. military and broader uniformed services effort will “entail command and control, logistics expertise, training, and engineering support.”
President Obama said in a speech that "[m]ore than 2,400 men, women and children are known to have died -- and we strongly suspect that the actual death toll is higher than that ... In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It's spiraling out of control. It is getting worse. It's spreading faster and exponentially. Today, thousands of people in West Africa are infected. That number could rapidly grow to tens of thousands. And if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected, with profound political and economic."
Conservatives responded to the plan by mocking the president and his policies:
Allen West: Obama Trying To “Change The Subject” And “Seem Like A Leader Fighting A Really Bad Flu Bug.” Fox News contributor and former Florida congressman Allen West wrote on his Facebook page on September 16 that Obama “would rather send 3000 tough hard combat troops to fight ISIS and ensure the epidemic of Christian and religious minority genocide ceased.” He also dismissed the president's efforts as just “optics” and an attempt “to change the subject, and make yourself seem like a leader fighting a really bad flu bug.” West's post:
West also wrote an article on his website headlined, “Ebola not the deadliest virus to threaten the US: Islamism is.” He wrote he doesn't “want to see the Ebola virus spread, but there is a greater pestilence that has already spread to America -- and it is far more long lasting and deadly if not eradicated.”
Eric Bolling: “In Related News, He Plans To Send 3,000 Hypodermic Needles To Iraq To Fight ISIS.” The Five co-host Bolling mocked Obama's plan by stating: “This just in: President Obama announced his plan to send 3,000 troops to Africa to fight Ebola, and in related news, he plans to send 3,000 hypodermic needles to Iraq to fight ISIS. That's not that funny, but when you think about 3,000 -- get it?” He later added while the president should acknowledge Ebola is a problem that should be dealt with, “let's focus on the most pressing thing to the United States, in my opinion. The most dangerous thing to the United States right now is terrorism.”
Sean Hannity Calls Obama's Plan “Arrogant.” Speaking on his September 16 Premiere Radio Networks program, Hannity said people will wonder why Obama is sending troops to combat Ebola when “we ought to be sending 3,000 troops to Iraq.” While he said he feels “bad” about people getting Ebola, Hannity labeled Obama's plan “a little arrogant” since Africa lacks infrastructure and Obama can't even roll out HealthCare.gov.
Rush Limbaugh: “I Didn't Know You Could Shoot A Virus. Did You?” During his September 16 broadcast, Limbaugh said: “We are sending more soldiers to fight Ebola than we are sending to fight ISIS or other Muslim terrorists. [Staffer Bo] Snerdley, I didn't know you could shoot a virus. Did you? This the first I've heard that that is possible.”
Limbaugh added: “Obama was said to be one of the greatest community organizers ever. And thus, you would expect a great community organizer to at least be able to organize a coalition of nations against ISIS. But he apparently can't do it. He doesn't even seem to be able to organize a coalition against Ebola, much less ISIS. ”
Laura Ingraham Mocks Obama-Ebola Plan With Game Show Music. On her radio program, Ingraham played game show music while playing the game “name that enemy” about whether Obama is more serious about tackling Ebola or ISIS. Ingraham later said “I'm just getting very confused about the nature of this enemy. Is it those scary little worms that Drudge always has on the Drudge Report? The scary little Ebola worms? Is that the real threat to national security?” Ingraham then said if Ebola was a really serious threat, we should lock down the border.
Glenn Beck's The Blaze: “Obama Won't Declare War On ISIS, But He Is Declaring War On... Ebola?” TheBlaze posted a September 15 article that began, “The American people still cannot get a straight answer from the Obama Administration as to whether or not we are at war with the Islamic State. While President Obama may not be keen on declaring war on ISIS (or ISIL, or DAISH, or whatever you want to call it), he is prepared to declare war on... Ebola.” While speaking on TheBlaze TV, Beck mocked Obama's plans to combat Ebola by noting problems with HealthCare.gov.
Ben Shapiro: “Hypocrite Obama Decides to Send Troops Against Ebola, Not ISIS.” In a September 17 Breitbart.com piece, Shapiro acknowledged that Ebola is a “serious issue” and this “may be the right decision.” Shapiro still took issue with Obama, complaining, among other things, that Obama wants to “look decisive, given the fact that his indecision in Iraq has blown back on him.”
While conservative commentators have mocked Obama for fighting Ebola, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer praised Obama's efforts. Krauthammer, who is also a physician, said on Fox News' Special Report on September 16 that he applauds Obama for his decision:
KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I applaud what the president is doing. This is America at its best. Our armed forces are essentially the biggest NGO on the planet for helping people, the way we did in the tsunami, the way we do in Haiti. It is organized to go and to establish institutions and structures, and that's what it's going to do.
Now, the reason that we are doing this is, a, this could destroy West Africa. In other words, it could destroy all of the existing social structures rapidly, because it's now in urban areas, which has never happened with Ebola.
The other thing, which is unstated because you don't want to start a panic, is that it is possible, extremely unlikely, but possible that the virus mutates and becomes more easy to transmit, perhaps even by respiratory means. If it does, it becomes like the flu of 1918. So it's because of that remote possibility, which we don't even speak about because it is sort of impossible to imagine, that we want to make sure that it stays in West Africa, and deploying the military and all of our resources is a good thing to do. It's humanitarian and it's protective.