Nurse Kaci Hickox was, as promised, released from a mandatory quarantine in New Jersey yesterday, and was allowed to return home to Maine. Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) defense for his curious actions still needs some work.
“I didn’t reverse any decision,” Mr. Christie said from the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Fla., where he was campaigning for that state’s governor, Rick Scott, a fellow Republican. “She hadn’t had any symptoms for 24 hours. And she tested negative for Ebola. So there was no reason to keep her. The reason she was put into the hospital in the first place was because she was running a high fever and was symptomatic.”
I can appreciate why the governor may feel defensive about his clumsy handling of the situation, but that’s no reason to deny what is plainly true.
On Friday, Christie endorsed a new policy, one whole day in the making, imposing a mandatory, 21-day quarantine on those who may have been in contact with Ebola patients in West Africa. Hours later, the Christie administration detained Hickox, despite evidence she wasn’t actually symptomatic.
On Sunday morning, the governor boasted that he had “absolutely … no second thoughts” about his policy, only to announce later in the day that his policy would now allow home quarantines. By Monday morning, Christie’s 21-day quarantine on Hickox was reduced to three.
Unless the New Jersey Republican has come up with a new definition of “reverse,” it’s not unreasonable to note he changed his policy.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Christie could very well tell the public that he chose one policy, learned new information, then changed his policy to adapt to the circumstances. Responding to the Ebola threat in the United States is still fairly new, and it stands to reason that officials’ responses will need fine-tuning over time.
But not Christie, who told NBC’s “Today” show this morning, “Our policy hasn’t changed and our policy will not change” – despite the fact that it’s already changed.
Maybe this has something to do with the governor’s misguided messaging?
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday over his Ebola response, saying it’s the Republican governor who should be quarantined for siding with President Barack Obama ahead of the elections.“So one week before the election, once again, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has caved. We need to quarantine Chris Christie is what needs to happen here, folks. This is the second election in a row,” Limbaugh said on his radio program, according to a transcript.“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” he continued, “but I really think the Republicans ought to make sure that Governor Christie gets quarantined.”
As the Politico report added, Limbaugh equated Christie releasing Kaci Hickox to Christie hugging President Obama during the response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
No wonder the governor seems troubled.