McCain calls for Ebola 'czar'

McCain calls for Ebola 'czar'
© Getty Images

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called for President Obama to nominate an Ebola "czar" to coordinate the administration’s response to the deadly virus.

“I’d like to know who’s in charge,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The senator’s appearance followed news from Dallas early Sunday that a second Ebola patient had been identified – a healthcare worker who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. Ebola patient, who died last week.

McCain said his constituents in Arizona are “not comforted” and “need more reassurance.”

In the past, McCain had been critical of Obama's use of so-called "czars" to name lead officials on particular matters. In 2009, McCain tweeted that Obama had "more czars than the Romanovs — who ruled Russia for 3 centuries."

The senator also said the administration should “look at” airports in West Africa as well as those in the United States.

“Americans have to be assured here,” McCain added. 

Enhanced screening at five major U.S. airports began on Saturday as part of the administration’s effort to prevent the virus from again entering the country undetected. Duncan contracted the disease in Liberia.

Administration officials said the screenings at Washington Dulles, John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty, O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson international airports will reach 94 percent of passengers who are arriving from the African nations that are battling Ebola.

A group of 27 lawmakers, including three Democrats, signed a letter last Wednesday urging Obama to immediately halt flights from West African countries that are at the center of the outbreak.

Administration officials have repeatedly said that canceling flights to Ebola-stricken countries would be counterproductive by hurting efforts to combat the deadly virus at its source.

— This post updated at 1:21pm.