It was discovered that Secretary of Defense Austin was hospitalized for issues related to prostate cancer surgery. But the administration did not know for days that the head of the Pentagon was absent.
Many were outraged that Austin didn’t bother to communicate this to the White House. U.S. law requires agencies to report such news to Congress as well.
Questions have been floating around but with no answers. Republicans are considering impeaching Austin. And now, a ranking House Democrat has made one big demand to Joe Biden.
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) stated that President Joe Biden “needs to evaluate his relationship” with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin based on Austin’s answer on why Austin didn’t tell the President he was hospitalized and Biden needs to have a conversation about potentially firing Austin and there isn’t a plausible answer to why Austin didn’t inform the White House.
Democrat Rep. Adam Smith said President Biden needs to “evaluate his relationship” with Defense Secretary Austin. He said there was no “plausible explanation” for why Austin hid the fact he had cancer and his hospitalization from the president.
It is possible, Smith suggested, that Biden would fire Austin over these moves. He pointed out that Austin is the “number two in command” over the U.S. Armed Forces. His going MIA seems unacceptable to many in D.C.
Smith said that Austin has not provided an answer to why he didn’t tell Biden he was admitted to the hospital. Such important news should have been reported weeks in advance, with Congress knowing who was in charge of the Pentagon while Austin was out.
This lack of communication seems to underscore the dysfunction of the military under President Biden. Republicans will certainly use this episode to claim Biden lacks the leadership to properly hold his officials accountable.
Now that a Democrat is giving such a stern answer is not good for Austin. It is unclear if Biden will evaluate Austin’s role as head of the DOD. But pressure might mount in the coming days.
- Ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Smith of the House Armed Services Committee said Biden must evaluate his relationship with Sec. Austin.
- Austin did not inform the president had cancer nor that he was admitted to the hospital.
- Rep. Smith appeared to suggest that President Biden might fire Austin over this issue.