Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken back to hospital on Sunday afternoon for symptoms related to a possible bladder problem. Pentagon was announced.
Austin has been battling prostate cancer and recovering from surgery for the past few months.
He currently retains all responsibilities of his position, the Pentagon said. On his way to Walter Reed The Austin National Military Medical Center brought with it all “unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform its duties,” according to Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks is standing by to take over any of Austin’s functions if necessary.
The Pentagon made clear that the White House and Congress had been notified of Sunday’s hospitalization, avoiding a repeat of a December incident when Austin and his staff failed to inform senior government officials that Austin was in intensive care for complications related to with his cancer. surgery.
In January, Austin came under fire after the Pentagon waited days to inform the White House and the public that he was in the ICU for reasons unknown at the time. Walter Reed’s doctors later revealed his prostate cancer diagnosis and released details of his hospital visits.
But several lawmakers have called on Austin to step down over a lack of transparency, though the White House has rebuked those demands and redoubled its support for the defense secretary as he battles cancer.
Austin’s readmission to the hospital on Sunday comes a little more than a week after he publicly apologized for concealing his previous hospital visit and vowed to be more transparent.
“We did not handle this right. And I didn’t handle that right. I should have told the president about the cancer diagnosis. I also should have told my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility,” Austin said at a Pentagon Briefing.
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