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Trump calls for SECDEF Austin to be fired

Former President of the United States Donald Trump at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., July 24, 2022. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
January 09, 2024

Former President Donald Trump urged President Joe Biden to fire Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Sunday in a statement on social media, criticizing the top Pentagon official for “dereliction of duty.”

In a post on Truth Social, the former president said Austin should be “fired immediately” for failing to inform the White House and the nation’s top security officials for multiple days that he was hospitalized.

“Failed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin should be fired immediately for improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty. 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,” Trump wrote. “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!”

According to The Associated Press, Austin was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in an intensive care unit on January 1 after experiencing significant pain in relation to a medical procedure the secretary had on Dec. 22.

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The Daily Wire reported that while Austin was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 1, the top Pentagon official did not inform Congress, the White House, or the National Security Council of his condition until Jan. 4.

According to The Daily Wire, some of Austin’s responsibilities were assumed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks; however, Hicks reportedly was not fully informed about Austin’s medical condition either.

On Saturday, Austin provided an update regarding his condition in a Pentagon press release.

“I am very glad to be on the mend and look forward to returning to the Pentagon soon,” Austin wrote. “I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better.”

Austin added that his hospitalization was related to his “medical procedure” and that he takes “full responsibility” for his “decisions about disclosure.”