Pence claims Lloyd Austin's undisclosed hospitalization 'dereliction of duty'

 January 8, 2024

Former Vice President Mike Pence (R) strongly criticized Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's undisclosed hospitalization, labeling it a "dereliction of duty" during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

While expressing his well-wishes for Austin's full recovery, Pence expressed deep concern over the lack of transparency regarding the Secretary of Defense's medical condition and the circumstances surrounding his hospitalization.

The comments

Pence stressed the critical need for transparency, especially given the ongoing geopolitical challenges and the involvement of U.S. allies in Eastern Europe and Israel.

Pence raised questions about the apparent lack of communication within the Biden administration, highlighting the unsettling scenario of the leader of America's military being incapacitated while critical global events unfold.

The former vice president called on Secretary Austin and the administration to step forward promptly and provide the American people with comprehensive and accurate information about the situation.

The Pentagon's announcement

The Pentagon provided additional information on Sunday regarding the hospitalization of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, revealing that he underwent a medical procedure on December 22, returned home on December 23, and was admitted to intensive care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on January 1 due to severe pain.

The statement, issued by Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, acknowledged the concerns expressed by members of Congress from both parties about the lack of transparency surrounding Austin's hospital stay.

Despite the disclosure, specific details about the nature of the medical procedure and the events leading to Austin's intensive care admission were not provided.

The latest

Ryder clarified that Austin's transfer to the hospital's intensive care unit was initially due to his medical needs, and his continued stay there was influenced by considerations related to hospital space and privacy.

The National Security Council and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks were reportedly not informed of Austin's hospitalization until Thursday, January 4.

Ryder attributed the delayed notification to Austin's chief of staff, Kelly Magsamen, being unwell and unable to make notifications earlier. Magsamen eventually informed Hicks and national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday.

The timeline of notifications has prompted concerns and criticism from lawmakers, raising questions about the communication processes within the Defense Department and the handling of information related to the health of top officials.

Pence is one of many Americans upset over the handling of the situation, with a growing number of people calling for Austin to step down or for an investigation over the matter.

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