Speed Reads

Czar-geon General

John McCain calls for an 'Ebola Czar' — but the Senate refuses to confirm nominee for Surgeon General

Arguing "there has to be more reassurance given" and "we don't know exactly who's in charge," Arizona Sen. John McCain voiced (deeply ironic) support for an 'Ebola Czar' to communicate with the public about efforts to combat the deadly virus:

McCain joins fellow senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), as well as Reps. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.), in calling for an Ebola Czar. However, President Obama's nominee for Surgeon General — "America's doctor," as former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin described the post — has languished in the Senate awaiting confirmation for 11 months.

Dr. Vivek Murthy was nominated last November for Surgeon General, but faced stiff opposition from none other than the National Rifle Association, which took issue with Murthy's stance on gun violence:

While some officials, like former Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, have argued that the Surgeon General is something of a glorified spokesperson lacking meaningful authority to coordinate public health response, that may be particularly vital in this moment of crisis. After all, Dr. Thomas Frieden — the head of the Centers for Disease Control, America's ambassador to the World Health Organization and one of the most familiar faces of the U.S. Ebola response so far — might be a bit too busy to show up on TV and comfort a worried nation.