In the wake of the recent revelations regarding Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization and the lack of transparency surrounding it, former President Donald Trump has called for Austin’s firing while other Republicans have called for the cabinet official to resign.
“Failed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin should be fired immediately for improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty,” Trump declared in a January 7 post on Truth Social. “He has been missing for one week, and nobody, including his boss, Crooked Joe Biden, had a clue as to where he was, or might be. He has performed poorly, and should have been dismissed long ago, along with ‘General’ Mark Milley, for many reasons, but in particular the catastrophic surrender in Afghanistan, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of our Country!”
Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder announced in a January 5 statement that on January 1, Austin had been “admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for complications following a recent elective medical procedure.”
The White House was reportedly notified about Austin’s hospitalization later in the week.
In a January 7 statement, Ryder noted that Austin was still at Walter Reed. “Since resuming his duties on Friday evening, the Secretary has received operational updates and has provided necessary guidance to his team,” Ryder noted.
In a January 6 statement, Austin said, “I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”
Reps. Chip Roy of Texas and Elise Stefanik of New York have been among the Republicans calling for Austin to resign.
“I write to request your immediate resignation as Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD). Your failure to inform the White House, the National Security Council, and Congress of your hospitalization and subsequent inability to fulfill your national security responsibilties as Secretary in a timely manner is indefensible and unacceptable,” Roy declared in a letter to Austin.
“It is shocking and absolutely unacceptable that the Department of Defense waited multiple days to notify the President, the National Security Council, and the American people that Defense Secretary Austin was hospitalized and unable to perform his duties,” Stefanik, who is the House Republican Conference chair, said in a statement.
NSC coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby has batted away the notion of an Austin ouster, indicating that there is no plan other than for the defense secretary to remain in his role.
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