The Obama administration "should be ashamed of itself" for being so slow to help get a U.S. Marine released from a Mexican jail, says Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona.
"I think one call from the president or John Kerry will probably take care of it," Salmon told J.D. Hayworth and Francesca Page on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Tuesday.
"I've been kind of watching in horror," he said.
Story continues below video.
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was arrested March 31 in Mexico after he mistakenly found himself at a border crossing in Tijuana at the California border. The Marine intended to have dinner in San Ysidro that night, which is right on the border, south of San Diego.
Tahmooressi is from Florida, but had traveled to the San Diego area to begin treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
He was arrested because Mexican officials found three legally registered firearms in his truck, along with other belongings, and he has been held prisoner there since.
Salmon said that he's "feeling pretty good that . . . something positive will happen in the next short while," but that "the administration should be ashamed of itself" that it has let Tahmooressi languish as long as he has.
"The president has boldly said that he has a pen and a phone, and he's the guy about hope and change," Salmon said. "Well, my hope is that he'll change his ways and use his phone for something constructive for once in a while and actually get this young man out of prison and back into treatment for his disorder."
Salmon went to Tijuana over the weekend to visit Tahmooressi
and said that he is in a much better facility than when he was first arrested.
"He was not treated well at that first prison. It's overcrowded, and he was frightened," the Arizona Republican explained. "At this prison, he's being treated very well. I can attest to that."
A White House petition was started to solicit the administration's help in helping get Tahmooressi freed. On Saturday afternoon it reached more than 100,000 signatures, Fox News
Once such a petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the White House is supposed to issue a response.
"My legislative director called yesterday to the White House to try and find out exactly what it means, and the White House hung up on her," Salmon said. "First of all, they put her on hold, and they jerked her around, and then they just hung up.
"To call them indifferent would be a compliment," Salmon said. "I think that these guys are totally disengaged, and they've got other fish to fry. I don't know what's more important than taking care of a U.S. Marine that served this nation proudly and in a completely honorable way."
© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.