Republicans slam Defense Secretary Austin for hospitalization handling

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Republicans slam Defense Secretary Austin for hospitalization handling

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin affirms before a House Armed Services Committee hearing about his failure to reveal his cancer medical diagnosis and subsequent hospitalizations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., onFeb 29, 2024.

Evelyn Hockstein|Reuters

Republicans grilled U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at a hearing Thursday about the handling of his January hospitalization following his cancer medical diagnosis.

“It’s totally unacceptable that it took three days to inform the President of the United States that the Secretary of Defense was in the hospital, and not in control of the Pentagon,” statedRep Mike Rogers, R-Ala, the chair of the House Armed Service Committee.

Thursday’s hearing focused around why the Deputy Defense Secretary and the White House were not instantly notified that Austin was hospitalized after problems developed from surgical treatment to treat his prostate cancer.

“This is about judgment, and poor judgment,” stated Michael Waltz, R-Fla “My teenage daughter knows to tell her supervisor if she’s not going to work. The American people, truck drivers, bartenders know they have to tell their boss or they get fired. But you’ve held yourself to a different standard. And that’s unacceptable.”

Austin doubled down on his apology from previously this month and stated in spite of there being a breakdown in notices throughout his health center stay, there were never ever any lapses in Pentagon authority.

“We did not handle this right, and I did not handle it right. … As you know, I’ve apologized, including directly to the president, and I take full responsibility,” Austin stated at Thursday’s hearing.

The hearing happened simply days after a Pentagon internal evaluation stated the procedure for moving the secretary’s authority must be enhanced however that “nothing examined during this review demonstrated any indication of ill intent or an attempt to obfuscate.”

Republicans stated the occurrence threatened nationwide security and stated the occurrence reveals that President Joe Biden is either aloof or Austin runs out the loop.

“Our adversaries should fear us and what you’ve done is embarrassed us,”Rep Jim Banks, R-Ind, stated.

Democrats stated Austin’s absence of openness must not be duplicated however stated legislators must be concentrated on moneying the federal government and supplying help to Ukraine.

“Rather than nitpicking the Secretary of Defense about his precise process in this situation, we should go ahead and pass the national security supplemental,” statedRep Adam Smith, D-Wash, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Austin stated the Pentagon has actually currently executed a few of the internal evaluation’s modifications that are primarily categorized. The Defense Department’s inspector general is likewise carrying out an evaluation of the occurrence.

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