Sen. Carper on How to Handle Ebola

Mendte: Maybe we should follow Nigeria's example.

Tom Carper 940 x 540

Senator Tom Carper is the most popular elected official in Delaware, according to a new poll. It is easy to see why, when he came into the MeTV2 studios to be interviewed, he charmed everyone with his humor and self-deprecation. There is none of the arrogance or self-importance you sense from other politicians. When The Delaware Way producer Joan Dellett asked if Carper was on a tight time schedule, he sanswered, “No, on my schedule today are mostly naps.”

But don’t let his Mr. Smith Goes to Washington demeanor fool you, Tom Carper is the most powerful politician in the Philadelphia area and chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee. He oversees the government’s handling of many of headline issues, including the current crisis with Isis and Ebola.

“We should be very concerned about what is happening to the folks in West Africa,” is what the senator said when I asked him how concerned we should be about Ebola in America.

Carper doesn’t believe we need to restrict flights into this country from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and certainly not Nigeria. “There is a country where they had earlier outbreaks, but they haven’t had any more cases since August 31st.”

The senator believes we could learn a thing or two from the Nigerian medical professionals. “They are not very far from the three countries where so many people have died. They have figured out how to do with this.” Carper added: “What the countries in West Africa can do, and perhaps the United States, is learn from them. I always like to say, when you have a problem, find out what works and do more of that. Nigeria has found out what works.”

As for ISIS, the chair of the Senate Homeland Security committee doesn’t see a scenario where he would support sending combat troops into Iraq. “We have lost so many lives, so much sweat, tears and treasure in that country.”

Senator Carper wants the Iraqis to fight for themselves. “We can only do so much. It’s their country. If we continue to fight for them, I am not certain they will ever assume responsibility.”

As for former Secretary of State James Baker’s claim that Iran may be covertly helping the United States fight ISIS, Carper all but confirmed the relationship. “Iran has been helpful in getting Maliki to step down a few months ago. They have been helpful in getting a consensus builder in office as prime minister. And, yes, there are other things going on I probably could not talk about with you.”

When I reminded him that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently divulged that he is working with both U.S. and Iranian advisors, the senator chuckled and said, “The Iranians have been very helpful in a couple of ways. I’ll just leave it at that.”

You can watch the entire interview with Delaware Senator Tom Carper on The Delaware Way, Saturday Night at 7 or Sunday morning at 9 on ME TV, Channel 2.