U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has delegated his responsibilities to his deputy as he receives treatment for a critical health issue. This development comes after Austin’s recent hospitalization for a bladder problem.
What Happened: The Pentagon announced on Sunday that Austin has been admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Virginia for an “emergent bladder issue,” reported BBC. The duration of his hospital stay remains uncertain.
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has assumed Austin’s duties, as per a statement from the Pentagon. Austin’s doctors have expressed optimism about his recovery, despite the new health issue.
During a press conference last week, Mr Austin said, “I did not handle this right. I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis.” He also stated that he had never directed anyone in his staff to hide his time in hospital from the White House or the public
Why It Matters: Austin, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December, had previously faced criticism for not disclosing his illness and hospital stays. This led to three separate investigations into his handling of the situation, with some Republicans calling for his removal.
Despite the controversy, President Joe Biden voiced his support for Austin, although he acknowledged the lack of transparency regarding the severity of Austin’s illness.
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