In a scathing post on social media, former president and current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump demanded that President Joe Biden fire Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin over his “improper professional conduct.”
The issue Trump was referencing is Austin’s decision to hide his hospitalization for several days, which prompted backlash in Washington, D.C. According to Breitbart News, “Washington remained in collective shock on Sunday, as more information trickled out about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin being admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit for days and failing to disclose it to the president, the national security adviser, members of Congress, and the public.”
"Does the president know what elective surgery [Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin] has, even though the American people don't know?"
KIRBY: "I don't know the level of the president's personal knowledge of his medical situation" pic.twitter.com/r4fqVZXIS4
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 8, 2024
Many officials and commentators began to question Austin’s judgment over the decision, as well as the Biden administration’s competence — as it was concerning that the president and his team were unaware that the defense secretary had been partially incapacitated for several days, especially amid escalating tensions in the Middle East between the U.S. and Iran-backed proxy groups. Questions have also been raised as to who ordered a U.S. military drone strike that killed an Iran-backed militia leader in Iraq, as Austin was hospitalized at the time.
Here is a question that will never get asked!
If Lloyd Austin checked into the hospital for his “surgery” on December 22nd then who was it that carried out the orders for a drone strike on December 26th?! pic.twitter.com/E9UWySoJUg
— David Gray (@DGrayTexas45) January 8, 2024
The Pentagon and the White House initially refused to explain to the American people the reason behind Austin’s hospitalization, citing a desire for “privacy.” They have since announced that he suffered from a complication that was the result of “elective surgery,” though they provided no additional details.
The defense secretary issued a statement on Saturday acknowledging his failure to report the matter, writing that he understands he could have done a “better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed.”
“I commit to doing better,” Austin added. “But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”
Trump is now demanding that Biden fire the secretary of defense over his “improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty.”
“Failed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin should be fired immediately for improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty,” the former president wrote in a Sunday post on Truth Social. “He has been missing for one week, and nobody, including his boss, Crooked Joe Biden, had a clue as to where he was, or might be. He has performed poorly, and should have been dismissed long ago, along with ‘General’ Mark Milley, for many reasons, but in particular the catastrophic surrender in Afghanistan, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of our Country!”