US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized in Washington on Sunday due to an “urgent bladder problem”, a Pentagon spokesperson said. His responsibilities were transferred to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks.
Published on :
His previous hospitalizations, kept secret for a long time, had sparked controversy. This time, things were done according to the rules. The Pentagon announced that American Defense Minister Lloyd Austin was again admitted to hospital on Sunday, February 11. He delegated his duties to his assistant.
The official, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and recently underwent surgery, was taken to a military facility in suburban Washington for “an urgent bladder problem,” a spokesperson said in a statement. word from the Pentagon, Pat Ryder.
“At approximately 4:55 p.m. today, Secretary Austin transferred the functions” of the department to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. She assumes “the functions” of Lloyd Austin, continued this spokesperson, adding that Lloyd Austin was still receiving treatment and that the White House and Congress had been informed.
A few hours earlier, the Pentagon had indicated that Lloyd Austin had “gone to the hospital with the classified and unclassified communications systems necessary” to carry out his duties.
Health problems remained silent
During a press conference on 1er February, the Secretary of Defense apologized for having kept his cancer a secret, a matter which caused an uproar in the country.
Read alsoHospitalized in secret, the American Minister of Defense strongly criticized
Because in the middle of an election year and while the United States, the world’s leading military power, is closely following two major conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, Lloyd Austin was operated on and hospitalized twice in December and January without the President Joe Biden knows nothing about it.
“It was a mistake,” admitted the minister during this press briefing to which he presented himself with a still stiff gait. Lloyd Austin indicated that he had “directly” apologized to Joe Biden and that the latter had reacted “with grace”.
The affair had caused astonishment even in the Democratic camp and sparked calls from Republicans for the resignation of Lloyd Austin.
This time, his ministry promptly communicated about his new hospitalization: the media were notified about two hours after his departure for Walter Reed Hospital.
The controversy over his health problems came as U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria are regularly targeted by attacks from Iran-backed fighters, according to Washington.