Since the first day of 2024, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized. Although Pentagon authorities have not stated when he would be released, they have also refrained from disclosing the reason for his hospitalization.
Austin was brought to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday due to problems he had from an elective medical procedure, according to Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Amid his unexpected, multi-day hospital stay—which was first unknown to even President Biden—Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has indicated that he is not retiring, according to the Pentagon.
Major General Pat Ryder, the press secretary for the Department of Defense, said that Lloyd Austin has no intention of leaving his position.
Secretary Austin did not intend to step down, according to Ryder. Ryder went on to say that Austin stayed committed to carrying out his responsibilities as Secretary of Defense to protect their country.
According to a White House pool report, National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby stated at a press gaggle on Monday that the president’s priority was the secretary’s recuperation and that he looked ahead to having him back at the Pentagon as soon as possible.
Kirby continued, “There is no plan for anything other than Secretary Austin to stay in the job,” about Austin’s future at the Pentagon.
During the press conference, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre restated Joe Biden’s support for Austin, stating that the president has “complete confidence” in the governor.
Austin still won’t say why he’s in the hospital or how serious his condition might be.
On Saturday, he said something of a mea culpa, acknowledging that he might have done a better job of making sure the public was informed and pledging to improve. He also acknowledged that he understood the media’s worries about openness.
Even more troubling is the fact that Austin neglected to inform his boss, the US president, that he was in critical condition, even though the public should have been aware of what was happening.
Biden’s decision to support Austin comes in demands for his firing from Republicans, including former President Donald Trump.
When Lloyd Austin withheld the news last week that he had been admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to problems following an unidentified medical operation, it raised concerns about the nature of his illness and his decision to keep such a private matter private.
After arriving back on Tuesday from (yet another) Caribbean vacation, Biden, 81, most likely spent the remainder of the week getting ready for his Friday campaign speech, in which he will once more claim that Trump is the reason why our democracy is in jeopardy.
It seems that he had no time to call his defense secretary to inquire about any foreign dangers to that democracy.
Ryder said that after Austin returned to work on Friday night, the Secretary had been updated on operations and had given the team the direction they needed. Ryder said Austin continued to keep an eye on the DoD’s daily activities across the globe and has complete access to the necessary communications capabilities.
Lloyd Austin Faces Growing Heat From Congress
Members of Congress are becoming increasingly incensed with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about the secrecy surrounding his hospitalization.
Congressmen of both parties are now calling on Austin to address unresolved issues over the incident, putting pressure on the Pentagon to assist.
The illness was not disclosed to Biden administration officials or even President Biden himself for days, according to later reporting. Congress was only notified by the Pentagon shortly before the stay was made public on Friday.