OAN’s James Meyers
12:15 PM – Wednesday, February 7, 2024
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has officially agreed to testify before Congress to answer questions about his failure to report his hospitalization.
Austin will appear before the House Armed Services Committee on February 29th, panel spokesperson Justine Tripathi told NBC News.
Meanwhile, last week, the defense secretary returned to the Pentagon for the first time since his hospitalization and apologized for not handling communications properly.
“I want to be crystal clear. We did not handle this right, and I did not handle this right,” Austin told reporters. “I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.”
House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) proposed for Austin to appear next week, but Austin said it was not possible due to a scheduling conflict.
“He had a date conflict, but he’s going to give us another date,” Rogers said of Austin in a brief interview.
The 70-year-old was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 1st after developing a urinary tract infection from complications related to prostate cancer surgery on December 22nd.
However, senior military officials were not informed of his condition until several days later, including President Joe Biden. Additionally, they were also not informed of his cancer diagnosis until January 9th, which is almost a month after the illness was discovered.
Several GOP lawmakers called on Austin to resign after the debacle. Sen Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called the delay “unacceptable” and said it was a “shocking defiance of the law” on behalf of the Department of Defense.
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