Calling deadly treatment delays and falsified waiting lists at veterans hospitals “a national embarrassment,” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told Newsmax TV on Thursday that President Barack Obama hasn’t shown he even comprehends the scale of the problem or the urgency needed to fix it.

The Obama transition team learned in 2008 that the Department of Veterans Affairs was under-reporting wait times for its patients, The Washington Times reports.

“The president should have been leading the charge to fix this problem and he’s been, as usual, you know, following along,” Thune said during an extended, two-part interview on “America’s Forum” with hosts J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman.

He has introduced a Senate bill to launch an independent investigation into the VA scandal.

By contrast, Thune said, the White House response so far has amounted to the president “talking tough” at a press conference on Wednesday and dispatching one aide to a troubled VA facility.