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Pentagon Waited Three Days To Inform White House Of Austin’s Hospitalization

The Pentagon did not inform senior officials of Austin’s hospitalization until late Thursday — three days after he was hospitalized.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Capitol Hill in 2023. | Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP file

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on New Year’s Day for complications from an medical procedure, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The Pentagon did not inform senior officials of Austin’s hospitalization until late Thursday — three days after he was hospitalized. Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, made no mention of the hospitalization when briefing reporters on Thursday.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan informed President Joe Biden of the news late Thursday, according to a U.S. official. The White House said Austin spoke with Biden on Saturday, describing the conversation as “warm”, adding the President has “full confidence” in Austin to do his job.

That official also confirmed to Fwrd Axis News that Austin’s hospital stay also included time in the intensive care unit.

Politico first reported the delay.

A U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson confirmed Saturday that Austin remains hospitalized but resumed his duties on Friday night.

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“Secretary Austin is still in the hospital and recovering well,” said the DOD spokesperson. “He resumed his full duties last evening. I don’t have any updates to provide at this time in terms of when he’ll be discharged.”

Austin released a statement on Saturday taking responsibility for not disclosing his condition sooner.

“I am very glad to be on the mend and look forward to returning to the Pentagon soon. I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better,” Austin said. “But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”

It remains unclear what the procedure was or what complications Austin had followed the procedure. The 70-year-old was not able to perform his duties since New Year’s Day, a senior defense official said Friday.

Senior administration officials were caught off guard, shocked by the news that Austin was in the hospital. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, who was on leave, took over Austin’s duties, the U.S. official said.

Austin is one of the most critical members of the Biden administration’s Cabinet. His hospitalization comes amid tensions in the Middle East and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

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Stephen Anderson
Written By

Stephen Michael is a Political Correspondent based in the United States. He has reached a global audience with his coverage of the 2020 Election and Trump White House. Michael joins Forward Axis News after spending time with the Project Spurs Network since 2014 and covering reality TV in the UK, Australia, and Canada.

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