Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin should have immediately told the White House he was being admitted to the hospital, Americans in the nation’s capital told Fox News, with many adding they would punish their employees for similar behavior.
Austin was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Jan. 1 after experiencing pain. He and his team didn’t notify President Biden or other White House personnel until Jan. 4.
“You miss three days and you don’t tell anyone, I mean, that’s just rude,” Cori, a D.C. resident, told Fox News. “Any employee, even your employer, if they didn’t show up or open the doors or whatnot, no matter what you do, being absent for three days is ridiculous.”
But Abu doubted it was the secretary’s fault.
“If he was sick, it was probably somebody else who messed up, not him,” he said. “So he shouldn’t resign.”
A Department of Defense spokesperson didn’t provide comment, but pointed Fox News to its recent press releases.
“At all times, the Deputy Secretary of Defense was prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the Secretary, if required,” a Jan. 5 Pentagon press release said.
Austin has been in the hospital since Jan. 1 and spent several days in the intensive care unit.
“The dude has one of the top jobs in the Cabinet, is not there and doesn’t tell anybody where he’s at,” Miles told Fox News. “It is a cause for a little bit of concern.”
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center announced Tuesday that Austin had a prostatectomy Dec. 22 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier in the month.
The secretary should have notified Biden about his condition earlier, D.C. resident, Joe, told Fox News.
“The average employee is not that crucial to an organization. But Austin is,” he said.
Jaqueline said if she had an employee who didn’t notify her before an absence, “they’d be suspended or I’d have to put them on notice they’re going to be let go. Simple as that.”
Dozens of House Republicans signed a letter sent to Austin asking questions about his delayed health disclosure and who was in the loop on his situation. House Democrats have also expressed a loss of trust in Austin’s leadership, saying he wasn’t transparent.
“I don’t know if it’s just a one-off, ‘hey, fire him or make him resign,’” Miles said. “It’s still so fresh and new. There’s some questions that need to be asked.”
Biden told reporters Friday he thinks it was a lapse in Austin’s judgment that the secretary did not tell him sooner.
Another man said he would fire his employee if they took a three-day absence without notifying their superior.
“I understand its cancer,” he said. “But I think that if you work for somebody, you should let somebody know that you have these issues.”
To watch the full interviews with Americans in D.C., click here.
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