Biden’s Secretary of Defense Went Missing For A Week

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III speaks with the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2021. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

Joe Biden is obsessed with “protecting democracy.” In Valley Forge, where George Washington stationed his troops throughout a cold winter during the Revolutionary War, the president spent thirty minutes attacking Donald Trump over the mobbing of the Capitol in 2021. 

Trying to link himself to the Father of the Nation, Biden said, “George Washington was at the height of his power, having just defeated the most powerful empire on Earth. He could have held on to power as long as he wanted.…But that wasn’t the America he and the American troops at Valley Forge had fought for.”

In lines that seemed directly aimed at Trump, wrote The Washington Post, Biden said: “In America, genuine leaders … don’t hold on to power relentlessly. Our leaders return power to the people. And they do it willingly, because that’s the deal: You do your duty. You serve your country. And ours is a country worthy of service.”

It’s a fair point. But a follow-up question could be asked of the president: Would a good leader know that his top military official was missing as two major wars have engulfed the world? Would he have such a lack of control over his administration that the Secretary of Defense could disappear without him knowing?

On the same day that Biden cosplayed as George Washington, news broke that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin–who was allegedly overseeing Biden’s military gambit in the Red Sea, Operation Prosperity, to protect shipping lanes and end terror attacks on boats in the region–had gone missing for nearly a week.

Biden must have missed the class talking about George Washington and the cherry tree because he seems to have not realized that honesty and transparency are important aspects of “returning power to the people.”

The Messenger reported that in a stunning Friday evening admission from the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Monday evening. 

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Austin was admitted for “complications following a recent elective medical procedure.” He did not say what medical procedure Austin had received. 

“He is recovering well and is expecting to resume his full duties today. At all times, the Deputy Secretary of Defense was prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the Secretary, if required.”

Contacted by The Messenger Friday evening as to why the news of Austin’s hospitalization was not disclosed earlier, Ryder attributed the delayed response to an “evolving situation.”

“We had to consider a number of factors, including medical and personal privacy issues,” said Ryder. “Congressional notifications occurred late this afternoon.”

The scandal is a good reminder that while Joe Biden may live in the White House, he’s not the one in charge. 

Amidst ongoing military conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, the Secretary’s unexplained absence for almost a week has drew harsh criticism from the Pentagon Press Association.

“It falls far below the normal disclosure standards that are customary by other federal departments when senior officials undergo medical procedures or are temporarily incapacitated,” the professional body of journalists wrote to Ryder requesting a meeting. “The public has a right to know when U.S. Cabinet members are hospitalized, under anesthesia or when duties are delegated as the result of any medical procedure. That has been the practice even up to the president’s level. As the nation’s top defense leader, Secretary Austin has no claim to privacy in this situation.”

“At a time when there are growing threats to U.S. military service members in the Middle East and the U.S. is playing key national security roles in the wars in Israel and Ukraine, it is particularly critical for the American public to be informed about the health status and decision-making ability of its top defense leader,” the professional body wrote in a letter obtained by The National Review.

Over the summer, Austin faced calls for his impeachment stemming from the way he handled pulling American troops out of Afghanistan. Congressman Cory Mills introduced a bill to remove Austin from his post because of “dereliction of duty.”

“Despite having nearly eight months as Secretary of Defense to prepare for and execute a smooth and orderly departure from Afghanistan, Secretary Austin failed to adequately prepare for such a withdrawal, including through his decisions during the catastrophic events of July and August 2021, which initially resulted in as many as 9,000 American citizens being abandoned in Afghanistan,” the bill read.

The Washington Examiner noted that “Republicans and former military members have long blamed President Joe Biden, who went against the guidance from his top military advisers to withdraw the entire U.S. military presence in Afghanistan in August 2021. 

Mills, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, is a veteran of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and was the only member of Congress to have rescued people from the Taliban after the withdrawal. A candidate at the time, Mills conducted the first successful civilian overland rescue mission of Americans.”

“High-level officials in this administration blatantly ignored intel that Americans and our allied partners in Kabul would be left behind in harm’s way unless the U.S. corrected course in our withdrawal,” Mills said in a statement.

[Read More: Biden’s Chief Throws Party In Hopes Of Quelling Dissent]

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