In response to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s failure to promptly disclose his hospitalization, a White House official affirmed on Monday that President Joe Biden is not contemplating Austin’s termination.
Austin, who holds a crucial position just beneath Biden in the U.S. military’s command hierarchy, refrained from revealing his hospitalization on New Year’s Day to both the president and the public for several days.
When questioned about Austin’s consciousness since January 1 and whether the White House had been informed, the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, stated that they were unaware of such details.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed on Monday that Austin had resumed all of his duties while still in the hospital. Kirby emphasized that there was no consideration for anyone other than Austin to continue serving in his role.
Former President Donald Trump called for Austin’s immediate termination on Sunday night, asserting that Austin’s actions constituted “improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty.”
“He [Austin] 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,” Trump stated on Truth Social.
On Sunday, officials revealed that the secrecy surrounding Austin’s hospitalization was more extensive than previously known, with even his deputy being kept uninformed for days, along with numerous others, including President Biden.
Given the nature of Austin’s responsibilities, which require immediate readiness to address any national security crisis, concerns have arisen across party lines in Congress regarding the confidentiality surrounding his hospital stay. On Saturday, Austin admitted to taking “full responsibility” for the lack of transparency.
The Pentagon released additional details on Sunday, indicating that Austin underwent a medical procedure on December 22, returned home the next day, and was admitted to intensive care on January 1 due to severe pain.
The statement by Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder did not provide specifics about the medical procedure or the events that led to Austin’s admission to intensive care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Monday.