US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized again

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at a press conference at the Pentagon on February 1, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, whose secret hospitalization sparked controversy in January, was re-hospitalized on Sunday, February 11, and handed over to his deputy, the Defense Department announced, clarifying that The White House and Congress were immediately notified this time.

Mr. Austin, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had recently undergone surgery, was taken to a military facility in suburban Washington. Urgent bladder problem », ministry spokesman Pat Ryder said in a statement.

“At approximately 4:55 today, Secretary Austin changed duties” Department to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. This assumes “tasks” Mr. Austin, the spokesperson continued. Hours earlier, the Pentagon had indicated that Mr. Austin “Returned to hospital with necessary classified and unclassified communication systems” to perform its functions.

Also Read | Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin’s first public appearance since his hospitalization

Avoid new uproar

During a press conference on 1er In February, Mr. Austin apologized for keeping his cancer a secret, something that caused a national uproar. Because in the middle of an election year and when the United States is involved in two major conflicts, in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, Mr. Austin was operated on and hospitalized twice, in December and January, without President Joe Biden knowing nothing. about it

“It was a mistake”, the minister admitted during this press briefing in which he presented himself with an even tougher move. Mr. Austin indicated that he had “straight” Mr. Biden apologized and later responded “with grace”. The incident also shocked the Democratic camp and fueled calls from Republicans for Lloyd Austin’s resignation.

This time, his ministry immediately communicated his new hospitalization: the media was informed two hours after his departure for Walter Reed Hospital. And notifications have been sent to the White House and Congress, according to Pat Ryder. The controversy over his health problems arose when US forces in Iraq and Syria were regularly targeted by attacks by Iran-backed fighters, according to Washington.

Also Read | The US defense minister is embarrassed by his hospitalization

The world with AFP

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