House Republicans demand transparency in Sec. Austin's secret hospitalization

 January 13, 2024

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's week went from shockingly bad to even worse.

According to Fox News, in the wake of the bombshell revelation that Austin hid a cancer diagnosis and subsequent medical treatment from the White House, Congress, and the American public, House Republicans are already digging in.

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) is leading the charge, along with two dozen House Republicans, in penning a letter to the secretive defense secretary asking, in part, how he would feel "if one of your combatant commanders was unable to discharge the duties of their office for three or four days and you were not informed."

They're also demanding to know exactly who knew what, and when they knew it -- all being reasonable questions, given Austin's national security influence and power.

"First and foremost, we wish you a speedy recovery and are sorry to hear about your recent cancer diagnosis. We are glad to hear that you are now recuperating and have been moved out of the ICU," the GOP lawmakers said in the letter's opening.

They added, "However, we are gravely concerned about the lack of transparency from the Department of Defense (DOD) regarding your recent hospitalization, which included a four-day stint in the intensive care unit."

The lawmakers didn't sugarcoat anything in the letter, calling out Austin for his deceptive and ridiculous situation.

"According to reports, congressional leadership, the Deputy Defense Secretary, the President, the National Security Advisor, and other members of the National Security Council were not informed about your hospitalization until three days after your hospital admission," they wrote.

"Given your critical role in protecting our nation as Secretary of Defense, it is deeply concerning that you kept your extended hospital stay a secret from the President and other senior national security officials," they went on.

Not only have other members of Congress written letters demanding to know more about the situation, some, including at least one Democrat, have called for Austin's resignation.

According to NBC News, Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-PA) is the first Democrat to call on Austin to step down.

"I have a solemn duty in Congress to conduct oversight of the Defense Department through my service on the House Armed Services Committee. That duty today requires me to call on Secretary Austin to resign," Deluzio wrote on X.

Only time will tell if enough pressure builds to force a better explanation or Austin's resignation -- or both.