Two Republicans wrote to President Obama on Monday urging him to name an Ebola czar with a certain stature and public brand. They have a few suggestions, who, oddly enough, all happen to be former Bush administration Cabinet officials.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) suggested in a joint letter that “well-respected former administration officials with a background in public health and international diplomacy” would be the appropriate choice to manage the crisis. President George W. Bush’s former secretary of state Colin Powell, former secretary of defense Robert Gates and former health and human services secretary Mike Leavitt, are just the “statesmen” for the job, they say.
(Yes, we know Gates worked in the Obama administration too, but the way he took down Vice President Biden in his book this year might make him an awkward choice.)
Wolf told the Loop in a phone interview that the government’s response to Ebola needs a public face who is trusted by both the American people and global leaders.
At the White House news briefing Monday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration already has a point person in Lisa Monaco, a homeland security adviser, who is in charge of “interagency response.”
But Wolf said the job is so demanding it requires someone who can pick up the phone, call a foreign leader and be patched right through.
Republicans have been critical of the White House response to the crisis, turning it into a campaign issue and most recently calling for stricter travel limits on people coming to the United States from West Africa.
Earnest ended his daily briefing saying that public health professionals “continue to be confident that the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is exceedingly low. Okay?”