U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin answers questions during a press conference at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, February 1, 2024.
Andrew Caballero-reynolds | afp | fake images
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to the hospital again Sunday afternoon for symptoms related to a possible bladder problem, the Pentagon announced.
Austin is battling prostate cancer and has been recovering from surgery for the past few months.
He currently retains all responsibilities of his position, the Pentagon said. En route to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Austin brought all “classified and unclassified communications systems necessary to perform his duties,” according to Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks is ready to take over any of Austin's duties if needed.
The Pentagon made clear that the White House and Congress were notified of Sunday's hospitalization, avoiding a repeat of the December incident when Austin and his staff failed to inform senior administration officials that Austin was in the intensive care unit for complications related to your cancer. surgery.
In January, Austin came under fire after the Pentagon waited days to inform the White House and the public that he was in the ICU for reasons unknown at the time. Doctors at Walter Reed later revealed the diagnosis of prostate cancer and released details of his visits to the hospital.
Still, several lawmakers called on Austin to resign over a lack of transparency, although the White House rebuked those demands and redoubled its support for the Defense Secretary as he battles cancer.
Austin's rehospitalization on Sunday comes just over a week after he publicly apologized for hiding that previous hospital visit and promised to be more transparent.
“We didn't handle this right. And I didn't handle it right. I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility,” Austin said at a news conference. . Pentagon briefing.