- Pentagon Sec. Lloyd Austin was admitted to Walter Reed Hospital on Sunday
- Austin immediately informed the White House of the visit after he faced backlash for failing to inform President Biden he was in the hospital last month
- Austin was hospitalized for prostate cancer surgery last month
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, 70, is back in the hospital for ’emergent bladder issues.’ Austin was transported to Walter Reed Medical center after the symptoms emerged.
Austin was transported to Walter Reed Medical center after the symptoms emerged Sunday afternoon.
After facing intense backlash for failing to immediately inform President Joe Biden of his surgery to treat prostate cancer last month, Austin was sure not to make the same mistake twice.
The Defense Department Secretary informed his deputy, Kathleen Hicks, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Charles Brown, Jr., the White House and Congress of his hospitalization, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder’s statement.
Austin said earlier this month that his failure to immediately notify Biden was partially due to his instinct to keep his health private along with being ‘shook’ by the news of his cancer diagnosis.
Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is back in the hospital for ’emergent bladder issues’
During a press conference earlier this month, Austin said he would immediately notify his deputy and the White House Situation Room if he has a medical issue, which appeared to ring true with his hospital visit on Sunday.
‘I have apologized directly to President Biden. I told him I’m deeply sorry for not letting him know immediately,’ Austin said during a press conference at the Pentagon on February 1.
‘I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis, I should have also told my team and the American public,’ he added. ‘I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.’
It was his first time speaking publicly about his medical scare and comes as he tries to recover from the scandal of keeping it a secret.
With Austin’s hospitalization on Sunday, Hicks is ‘prepared to assume the duties’ of secretary if needed. The DoD secretary, however, is retaining his powers for the time being, Maj. Gen. Ryder noted.
The retired general said in his press conference this month that his diagnosis with prostate cancer was a ‘gut punch.’
President Joe Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (with a walker) stand during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware of the bodies of three U.S. troops killed in a drone attack in Jordan last month
DoD Sec. Austin spoke during a press conference at the Pentagon on February 1 where he apologized for not immediately informing President Joe Biden of his diagnosis and surgery for prostate cancer last month
‘I was being treated for prostate cancer,’ he noted. ‘The news shook me and I know it shakes so many others, especially in the black community. It was a gut punch.’
‘Frankly, my first instinct was to keep it private,’ the Pentagon chief added. ‘I don’t think it’s news that I’m a pretty private guy. I never like the burdening others with my problems.’
‘It is just not my way. But I’ve learned from this experience taking this kind of job means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect. The American people have a right to know if their leaders are facing health challenges that might affect their ability to perform their duties even temporarily,’ he said.