Biden Refuses To Fire Lloyd Austin Over Unreported Hospitalization

Despite General Lloyd Austin’s failure to notify President Joe Biden of his days-long sickness in a timely manner, Biden would neither dismiss nor accept Austin’s resignation as defense secretary.

Four anonymous administration insiders disclosed that Biden was not contemplating firing Austin. One of those people added that the president would reject the secretary’s resignation even if he proposed it.

After difficulties following a medical procedure, Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 1, the Pentagon revealed. The next day, Austin released a statement in which he admitted to being hospitalized and said he “should have done a better job ensuring the public was correctly informed.”

Weekend news reports said that Biden and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan didn’t know Austin was sick until three days after he checked into the hospital. On Sunday, the Pentagon issued a statement stating that Austin was still in Walter Reed and was unaware of when he would be discharged.

Even though Austin went three days without telling anybody—not even his deputy—about his hospitalization, Biden and his crew have been firm that he is still in good standing. During their first contact since Austin’s hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 1, Biden expressed his anticipation of seeing the secretary return to the Pentagon soon during Saturday’s talk between the two men.

We still don’t know why Austin went to the hospital. Austin had “complications after a recent elective medical operation,” according to a Friday statement from the Pentagon. Austin had the treatment on December 22, went home the following day, but returned to the hospital on New Year’s Day due to “extreme discomfort,” resulting in his placement in the critical care unit, according to Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, its press secretary, who spoke with ABC News Sunday.

Kirby would not tell reporters how Austin was doing, but he did say that he was working from the hospital and would be back at the Pentagon soon. For the government to “learn from this experience,” he said, the matter will be reviewed.