Jan 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden: Austin had lapse in judgment by not disclosing hospitalization

oe Biden speaks to reporters as he visits Nowhere Coffee shop in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, on January 12,

Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 12. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin experienced a lapse in judgment in not revealing his recent hospitalization earlier.

Why it matters: The secrecy surrounding Austin's hospitalization spurred days of controversy as well as calls from lawmakers for Austin's resignation.

Catch up quick: Austin's Jan. 1 hospitalization wasn't made public until Jan. 5, with the White House, National Security Council and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks remaining in the dark until Jan. 4.

What he's saying: Biden told reporters while on a visit to Pennsylvania on Friday he still had confidence in Austin, per a White House pool report.

  • Asked if it was a lapse in judgment for Austin to not inform him earlier, Biden replied, "yes."

Context: It was revealed earlier this week that Austin's hospitalization was due to complications from a procedure to treat prostate cancer.

What's next: Both the White House and Pentagon have announced plans to review procedures for delegating authority in the aftermath of the incident.

  • The Pentagon announced Monday that Austin had resumed the full duties of his office.
  • Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder said Thursday that Austin remained hospitalized but in "good condition."

The big picture: The White House previously said that it has no plans to oust the Defense Secretary.

Go deeper: Defense secretary faces growing heat from Congress over hospitalization

Go deeper