Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the United States said that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is receiving care after suffering a urinary tract infection after undergoing surgery in December to treat prostate cancer.
The center stated in a statement issued by the US Department of Defense:Pentagon) “He has cleared his infection. He continues to progress and we expect a full recovery, but this may be a slow process.”
“During his stay, Secretary Austin never lost consciousness and was never under general anesthesia,” the statement added.
For his part, the White House said that US President joe biden It was not known that the Minister of Defense (70 years old) had prostate cancer until yesterday, Tuesday, minutes after it was revealed to the public.
Austin – a retired general who commanded US forces in Iraq – was transferred on January 1 to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a fact that the Department of Defense concealed from the Americans and…White House and Congress for most of last week, sparking widespread political criticism.
Austin's representative, Kathleen Hicks, also remained in the dark for several days, even after she was asked during a vacation in Puerto Rico to take over some of his duties on January 2.
White House spokesman John Kirby said, “Biden was not informed until last Thursday that Secretary Austin was in the hospital. He was not informed until this morning (Tuesday) that the primary reason for his hospitalization was prostate cancer.”
He added, “No one in the White House knew that Secretary Austin had prostate cancer until this morning, and the president was informed immediately after that.”
Austin and Biden spoke on Saturday, and it is not yet clear why Biden did not know about Austin's injury until yesterday, Tuesday.
Republicans considered the incident evidence of Austin's dereliction of his duty. Representative Mike Rogers wrote in a letter to Austin yesterday, Tuesday, in which he said, “In light of the wars in Ukraine and Israel, the idea that the White House and even your deputy did not understand the nature of your condition is completely unacceptable.”
Austin follows Biden directly in the pecking order in the US Army, and his duties require that he be available at any moment to address any crisis related to national security.
This includes always being ready to enter into secure communications with other officials in the event of an imminent nuclear attack, something that can be difficult in an intensive care unit bed.
He invited some prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trumpled to the removal of Austin from his position, but the Pentagon said he had no intention of resigning, and the White House said that Biden was not seeking to dismiss him.