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HomeNewsDefense Secretary Lloyd Austin Sparks Outrage for Secrecy on Hospitalization

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Sparks Outrage for Secrecy on Hospitalization

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A few days ago, the US Pentagon released a statement informing the public about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s bout of sickness. However, there is a string of rebuttals trailing Austin’s late disclosure. 

Many believe that the defense secretary ought to be more accountable to Americans about his health conditions. 

Apparently, Austin has been in the hospital since January 1, 2024, and the Pentagon release only came forward many days after his hospitalization. According to the statement, Defense Secretary Austin is in the hospital for “an elective medical procedure.” 

However, this still leaves the public in the dark about the severity of Austin’s medical condition. This is the major reason for the backlash from many quarters. Neither Austin nor the Pentagon have given specifics on how life-threatening the said medical condition is. 

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In fact, reports have it that the Department of Defense did not send a notice to the White House. Three days after Austin’s check-in to the hospital, official communication was made about the development. As the sixth official in the line of succession to the presidency, Austin has been called out for keeping his state of health secret. 

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However, Austin has since come forward with what seems like an apology. The defense secretary admitted he “could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better.” 

No one knows how long the defense secretary will spend in recovery as he is still in the hospital. However, Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, Austin’s spokesman, has declared that the defense secretary is recovering fast. 

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A couple of notable personalities were on the long list of people who publicly chided Austin for his secrecy. 

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For example, Sen. Roger Wicker, who represents Missouri, made a statement last weekend about the issue. He declared that the Department of Defense was intentional in its actions when it withheld information about the defense secretary’s health. According to Wicker, this kind of act is unacceptable. 

Likewise, another senator, who happens to be a member of the Armed Services Committee, took to X to voice his displeasure. Sen. Tom Cotton wrote that he expects Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to provide a public explanation. He opines that taking so long to inform the White House about a medical condition officially is unacceptable. 

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Cotton went further in the post to point out the importance of the Defense Secretary’s office. He wrote that the medical conditions of a senior government official, if any, need to be communicated in real-time. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence was equally displeased with the development. During a CNN interview, he mentioned, “The American people have a right to know about the secretary’s medical condition and the reasons behind it.” 

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Many agree that the disinformation by Austin and the Department of Defense was intentional. Some critics have cited how the Defence Secretary handled his COVID-19 infection in 2022.

Just a few hours after taking the test, he issued an official statement and made his ability to retain authority publicly. Defense Secretary Austin equally gave details about his symptoms and plans on how he would discharge his responsibilities during self-isolation. 

So, critics suggest that if the Defense Secretary knew to toe that line during his COVID crisis, he knows better. Not doing what is needed this time around is a dereliction of duty by a senior government official. 

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