Report: President was unaware that defense secretary is battling cancer

 January 10, 2024

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's name has been in the news since it emerged that he was secretly hospitalized last week.

The White House recently acknowledged that Austin has been battling prostate cancer, a fact of which President Joe Biden was not informed until last week. 

President and deputy secretary of defense were both kept in the dark

According to Reuters, that admission was made by White House spokesperson John Kirby during a press conference on Tuesday.

"He (Biden) was not informed until last (Thursday) that Secretary Austin was in the hospital. He was not informed until this morning that the root cause of that hospitalization was prostate cancer," Kirby was quoted as saying.

"Nobody at the White House knew that Secretary Austin had prostate cancer until this morning, and the president was informed immediately after," the spokesperson added.

What's more, Reuters reported that Biden wasn't the only one kept in the dark regarding Austin's condition, as the defense secretary's deputy initially had no knowledge about her boss' whereabouts either despite being told to assume some of his duties.

Trump says Austin "should be fired immediately"

Fox News noted that Austin's behavior has come in for sharp criticism, including from former President Donald Trump.

The former president wrote in a post on Truth Social that Austin "should be fired immediately for improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty."

"He has been missing for one week, and nobody, including his boss, Crooked Joe Biden, had a clue as to where he was or might be," Trump pointed out.

"He has performed poorly and should have been dismissed along with 'General' Mark Milley, for many reasons, but in particular, the catastrophic surrender in Afghanistan, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of our Country," the former president went on to complain.

House caucus made up of former military pilots call on Austin to resign

The network also reported on Wednesday that a group of House Republicans who previously served as military pilots are calling on Austin to resign.

Known as the MACH 1 Caucus, they sent a letter decrying "Austin's blatant violation of the Pentagon’s Principles of Information and serious lapse in judgment."

The lawmakers argued that "this warrants his immediate resignation, as well as the resignation of any staff involved in covering up his hospitalization."

In the event that Austin does not resign, the Republican congressmen insisted that the defense secretary "should be immediately dismissed."

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