Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hid hospitalization from Biden, assistant

By Jen Krausz on
 January 9, 2024

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin didn't tell President Joe Biden or his assistant secretary that he was hospitalized for a number of days, including some time spent in the ICU, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathy Hicks was on leave in Puerto Rico when she took on some of Austin's duties, but that's not really unusual, the Journal said.

But Hicks didn't know why she was taking over for Austin until Thursday, when Biden also found out, and the reason was then announced publicly on Friday.

It turns out Austin had an elective procedure on Dec. 22, returned home the same day, and started experiencing severe pain on Jan. 1. He returned to the hospital for treatment.

Austin is recovering and took his duties back Friday night.

He said that his chief of staff Kelly Magsamen had the flu on Monday when he was hospitalized, which is why those who should have been told right away were not.