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 January 13, 2024

Democrat Seth Moulton says Joe Biden should "fire" Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) believes President Joe Biden should "fire" Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for concealing his medical condition and planned surgery, The Hill reported. The Massachusetts Democrat, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, called Austin's conduct "completely unacceptable."

Austin has come under fire for putting the Biden administration in a dangerous position by not making anyone aware of his condition and absence. The defense secretary underwent surgery for prostate cancer on Dec. 22 after learning about his diagnosis earlier in the month.

He ended up in intensive care on New Year's Day because he developed a urinary tract infection as a complication of the surgery. It was then that Austin informed Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, who had to take over his duties.

Neither Hicks nor Biden knew of Austin's condition and medical ordeal until that time. Moulton believes this is "completely unacceptable" for someone in Austin's position.

"I can’t imagine that happening at the lowest levels of the military chain of command. Like where I was as a mere Lieutenant platoon commander in Iraq, I can’t even imagine it happening," Moulton told The Hill Friday.

"This is a breakdown in that chain of command. And the commander in chief needs to make a decision here," Moulton added.

"It’s up to the president as to whether he fires Secretary Austin, but I tell you what, he needs to send a decisive message that this is never gonna happen again," the defense secretary said. Moulton said he would not hesitate if he were the president.

"I would fire him in about five minutes," Moulton claimed. Former President Donald Trump similarly called for Austin's firing in a TruthSocial post on Sunday, the Daily Wire reported.

"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 Sunday.

"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!" Trump said.

These admonishments from Moultin and Trump came after Austin attempted to defend his actions. "I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed," he said in a statement Saturday.

"I commit to doing better. But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure," Austin's statement said.

Other Democrats have called for Austin to resign, but Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chris Deluzio was the first to do so, NBC News reported. "I have lost trust in Secretary Lloyd Austin’s leadership of the Defense Department due to the lack of transparency about his recent medical treatment and its impact on the continuity of the chain of command," Deluzio wrote.

Although medical information is private, Austin had a duty to inform those around him about his surgery. It will be a wonder if he gets to keep his job after he shirked his responsibility and made Biden look bad.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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