US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin hospitalized again

The head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, whose secret hospitalizations sparked controversy in January, was again admitted to the hospital on Sunday February 11, the Department of Defense announced, specifying that the White House had this time been immediately notified

US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin hospitalized again

The head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, whose secret hospitalizations sparked controversy in January, was again admitted to the hospital on Sunday February 11, the Department of Defense announced, specifying that the White House had this time been immediately notified.

Mr. Austin, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and recently underwent surgery, was taken to a military facility in suburban Washington for what appears to be a bladder problem, the statement said. department spokesperson Pat Ryder.

However, for the moment he retains his prerogatives, he added. The minister “went to the hospital with the classified and unclassified communications systems necessary to carry out his duties,” according to Mr. Ryder. His deputy stands ready to take over Lloyd Austin's duties if necessary, he said.

Avoid a new uproar

At a press conference on February 1, Mr. Austin apologized for keeping his cancer a secret, a matter that had caused an uproar in the country. Because in the middle of an election year and while the United States is involved in two major conflicts, in Ukraine and in the Gaza Strip, Mr. Austin was operated on and hospitalized twice, in December and January, without the president Joe Biden knows nothing about it.

“It was a mistake,” admitted the minister during this press briefing to which he presented himself with a still stiff gait. Mr. Austin said he “directly” apologized to Mr. Biden and that Mr. Biden responded “with grace.” The affair had caused astonishment even in the Democratic camp and sparked calls from Republicans for the resignation of Lloyd Austin.

This time, his ministry promptly communicated about his new hospitalization: the media were notified about 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 came as U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria are regularly targeted by attacks from Iranian-backed fighters, according to Washington.