Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Hospitalized

Avery Emberly

Updated Monday, February 12, 2024 at 12:20 PM CDT

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Hospitalized

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to an "emergent bladder issue," prompting the temporary transfer of his duties to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. The Pentagon announced Austin's hospitalization on a Sunday evening, revealing that Hicks is prepared to assume Austin's responsibilities if needed.

The 70-year-old defense secretary had undergone surgery at the same hospital on December 22, 2023, for post-prostate cancer surgery complications. After developing an infection post-surgery, he was readmitted for additional medical care. During his hospitalization, Austin, a retired four-star general and the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history, remained engaged in national security affairs, orchestrating U.S. retaliatory strikes against Houthi militias in the Middle East from his hospital room.

Major General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, confirmed the transfer of Austin's powers to Hicks. Despite the health issues, Austin was discharged from the hospital on January 15 and his cancer prognosis remains excellent, with expectations of a full recovery.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Jack Reed, and Republican Senator Roger Wicker have called for a full accounting of Austin's absences from the Pentagon, amid concerns that notification procedures were not adequately followed. The Pentagon has been trying to avoid political turmoil that might arise from delayed communication about Austin's medical condition, which was partly attributed to his chief of staff being ill with the flu.

Austin faced bipartisan criticism for not disclosing his cancer diagnosis and hospitalizations, including from former President Donald Trump. He issued an apology during a televised news briefing, admitting, "We did not handle this right and I did not handle this right." He is scheduled to testify before Congress on the nondisclosure of his health condition on February 29.

President Joe Biden has expressed his confidence in Austin despite recognizing a lapse in judgment. There are three ongoing investigations into Secretary Austin's conduct, including one by the Pentagon's Inspector General's office. Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House Armed Services Committee, has also summoned Austin to testify.

Austin was originally scheduled to travel to Brussels for a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, but his hospitalization has cast uncertainty on his travel plans. The duration of his hospitalization was not clear as of the latest statement, with updates on his condition expected to be provided when available.

The controversy over Austin's hospitalization led to the establishment of White House guidelines for Cabinet notifications. The Pentagon did not inform the public, press, or Congress about Austin's hospitalization until four days after his admission, and the White House was not informed until January 4. President Biden and senior administration officials faced criticism for the lack of prompt information regarding Austin's medical emergencies.

In the backdrop of these events, President Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against launching an offensive in Rafah without a credible safety plan, while the Israeli military conducted strikes in Gaza in response to an October 7 attack by Hamas.

Secretary Austin, who was in charge during a U.S. retaliatory strike in Baghdad against an Iranian-backed militia leader while hospitalized last month, was transported to the hospital by his security detail on the day of his hospitalization. He has directly apologized to President Biden for not giving advance notice about his hospitalization for prostate cancer treatment.

The Department of Defense released a statement from Austin's doctors about his condition following tests and evaluations. Austin's health incidents have sparked a broader discussion on transparency and communication protocols within the nation's top defense establishment.

Conservative Bias:

Ladies and gentlemen, here we have yet another example of the liberal establishment's utter disregard for transparency and accountability. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a key figure appointed by the Biden administration, concealed his health issues from the American people, the press, and Congress, demonstrating a flagrant lack of respect for the office he holds. The left's narrative of being the most transparent administration in history crumbles as Austin apologizes for his deception. It's clear that the Democrats prioritize their political image over the security of our nation, as they scramble to cover up Austin's absences during critical moments of national defense. This is a betrayal of the public trust, and it's no wonder there's bipartisan outrage over this concealment. The liberal media may try to downplay this scandal, but we see it for what it is: a symptom of a larger pattern of secrecy and evasion that plagues this administration.

Liberal Bias:

In a startling revelation that underscores the systemic dysfunction within the Republican-dominated defense oversight, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's health crisis was kept under wraps, endangering our nation's security. The GOP's incessant obstructionism and politicization of national defense have now culminated in a gross violation of the public's right to know. While Austin courageously directed military operations from his hospital bed, the Republicans are busy concocting conspiracy theories and stoking the fires of scandal. Their callous disregard for Austin's privacy and well-being is appalling, as they exploit his health challenges to launch partisan attacks. The hypocrisy is palpable, considering their silence on past administrations' far more egregious acts of secrecy. This is nothing but a witch hunt, aiming to distract the public from the GOP's failure to address the real issues facing our country.

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