McCain calls VA problems a 'national embarrassment'

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Meghan McCain blasts NY Times: 'Everyone already knows how much you despise' conservative women GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday called the scandal embroiling the Department of Veterans Affairs a “national embarrassment.”

In a Veterans Day statement, McCain said thoughts should be with veterans and families hurt by the long waits at government hospitals around the country.

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“It is a national embarrassment and represents a fundamental failure to keep our solemn responsibility to provide the timely care our veterans have earned and deserve,” said McCain, a Navy veteran and former prisoner of war in Vietnam. He has been an outspoken critic of the agency.

McCain said the legislation approved by Congress earlier this year to change the agency “serves as a beginning — not an end — to right the grave wrongs exposed by this scandal.” 

“We have much more work to do to hold accountable all those responsible for what occurred and to fulfill our moral obligation to care for all who have served,” he said. 

Earlier on Tuesday, McCain said he was “somewhat disappointed” by the job Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has done since taking over the agency this summer, arguing he has not moved fast enough to dismiss employees connected to the scandal over patient wait times.

McCain also encouraged veterans encountering problems receiving care to call his Phoenix office or submit a complaint at his office website.