President Biden has no plans to fire Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after the Pentagon chief withheld information from the White House about his extended hospital stay.
A White House official confirmed Biden’s thinking in a statement to Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy. Austin was taken into an intensive care unit for several days without Biden’s knowledge, and the secretive hospital stay has given rise to widespread criticism of Austin, with some calling for him to resign.
“The President has full trust and confidence in Secretary Austin. He’s looking forward to him being back at the Pentagon,” the official said.
The Pentagon echoed the White House sentiment in a statement to Fox News Digital on Monday, saying Austin also has no plans to resign.
“Secretary Austin has no plans to resign,” Pentagon press secretary Major General Pat Ryder said. “He remains focused on conducting his duties as Secretary of Defense in defense of our nation.”
Austin’s hospital stay began on New Year’s Day and lasted multiple days. Details of his visit remain slim, beyond that he was there for an elective procedure.
Former President Trump weighed in on the incident following a firestorm of attacks on Capitol Hill and social media.
“Failed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin should be fired immediately for improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty,” Trump wrote on Sunday. “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.”
“He has performed poorly, and should have been dismissed long ago, 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!” Trump added.
Austin remains hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
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