Former US Ebola czar: 3 reasons Trump's views are bad for pandemic preparedness

Ronald Klain, a lawyer who served as Ebola czar from 2014 to 2015, spoke out against President-elect Donald Trump's views on pandemic preparedness during a panel Tuesday hosted by the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center and Harvard Global Health Institute.

Despite being, in his words, a Democrat and "unabashed partisan," Mr. Klain said he tries to approach the issue of pandemic preparedness from a nonpartisan perspective.

"These are issues that should really transcend politics," he said.

Then, he went on to list three factors why "Donald Trump's presidency should be cause for concern for the public health community." Those are detailed below.

1. Mr. Trump has not properly addressed the Zika epidemic. "The only statement he made on Zika was whatever Gov. [Rick] Scott thought in Florida was good enough for him," Mr. Klain said. "That's not the kind of leadership we need in our next president and that's not the kind of leadership we need at this critical moment of threat from pandemic."

2. Mr. Trump made critical comments during the Ebola epidemic. While the world dealt with the ravaging effects of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014 and 2015, Mr. Trump expressed isolationist views on Twitter. For instance, Mr. Trump disagreed with the move of evacuating two American citizens back to the U.S. after they contracted Ebola in West Africa. He tweeted:

Mr. Klain also noted Mr. Trump said the CDC was lying to the American public about how Ebola spreads.

"This is not the kind of leadership we need," Mr. Klain said.

3. Mr. Trump has expressed isolationist views, but that won't keep Americans healthy during a pandemic. "The Trump presidency represents an ascendency of an isolationist perspective about world events that is tremendously dangerous in a time of global connectedness," Mr. Klain said.

He continued, "The idea that somehow the United States can cut itself off from the rest of the world, that we can build a wall — physical or metaphorical — high enough to keep out pathogens, to keep out diseases, to protect the American people from disease…is so badly misguided."

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