Defense secretary returns to hospital, deputy secretary in charge
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Sunday returned to hospital after experiencing bladder issues. Doctors admitted Austin into critical care, although the prognosis for his prostate cancer remained “excellent,” according to a statement from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Austin spent much of last month in the hospital and at home after experiencing complications from a cancer treatment he received in December. He was criticized for not notifying the president and other national security leaders of his absence for days after he first returned to the hospital in January. Austin apologized several times for failing to communicate.
Did Austin notify the public this time? Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying Austin arrived at Walter Reed, and that the Pentagon had notified the White House and Congress. Ryder said in that statement Austin would remain the functioning defense secretary during his hospital stay. But just a few hours later, Ryder said that Austin had transferred his office’s powers to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard’s discussion with WORLD Opinions contributor William Inboden about the criticisms following Austin’s first hospital stay.
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