The White House will scrutinize the handling of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent hospitalization, vowing changes if needed. However, President Joe Biden expresses confidence in Austin and has no intention of firing him. The revelation of Austin’s hospitalization without public notice sparked questions, with even top officials unaware until three days later. Austin apologized, acknowledging the need for better communication but emphasized the medical procedure’s personal nature.
The Pentagon disclosed that the White House wasn’t informed of Austin’s elective medical procedure on December 22, leading to complications and hospitalization on January 1. Austin’s chief of staff, Kelly Magsamen, ordered a 30-day review of notification processes for transferring authorities to the deputy secretary of defense. Despite Austin’s statement taking responsibility, calls for his resignation from Capitol Hill, including House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, have emerged.
The White House insists on Austin’s return to health and emphasizes the ongoing review’s focus on improving procedures. Biden maintains confidence in Austin’s leadership, while critics on Capitol Hill demand accountability and a Congressional investigation. The situation highlights the need for transparency and adherence to notification procedures for high-ranking officials’ health issues.