White House Criticized for Concealing Austin’s Hospital Stay

(UnitedHeadlines.com) – The Biden administration and the Pentagon are facing criticism following news of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin‘s extended hospital stay.

On Jan. 5, the Pentagon revealed Austin had been admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington on Jan. 1 with complications from a Dec. 22 surgery. Austin spent time in the intensive care unit and remained hospitalized as of Jan 7 with no date given for his release, according to the Pentagon.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, the second in command at the Pentagon, was unaware of Austin’s hospitalization until Jan. 4.

Even though the Department of Defense knew about Austin’s hospitalization, nobody else, including President Joe Biden, Austin’s chief deputy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken or national security adviser Jake Sullivan, were aware of his absence until Jan. 5. Austin’s position requires him to be available at any time to respond to a national security crisis as he ranks just below Biden in the U.S. military chain of command.

The first time news of Austin’s hospitalization was publicly released was in a Jan. 5 statement, where Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder wrote that Austin “is recovering well.” According to the statement, he expected “to resume his full duties” Jan. 5.

On social media, the Pentagon Press Association called it an “outrage” that the Pentagon released the details of his hospital stay after he had been there for four days.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr called the secrecy of Austin’s hospitalization “a huge failure,” adding that it would be hard to believe “the Pentagon tells the truth on anything” moving forward.

CNN journalist Oren Liebermann called the secrecy “unacceptable,” given his role “in the national security establishment and world events.”

On Jan. 8, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik and former President Donald Trump called for Austin’s resignation. However, the White House national security spokesperson John Kirby stated that Biden is not considering firing Austin.

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