Biden addresses Lloyd Austin’s ‘lapse in judgment’, whether he still has confidence in the defense secretary

President Joe Biden said that he still has confidence in Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin even after the Pentagon boss didn’t tell the White House about his hospitalization.

Austin’s shocking disappearance and failure to follow the chain of command by notifying the commander-in-chief drew bipartisan outrage and calls for his resignation but Biden is standing by his man, seemingly reluctant to jettison the black SECDEF in an election year.

Biden also said that Austin’s strange decision to go dark about his being out of action was a “lapse of judgment” in his first public remarks on the scandal as he visited a Pennsylvania coffee shop on Friday.

“I do,” Biden responded when a reporter asked, “Do you have confidence in Secretary Austin?”

The reporter then asked, “Was it a lapse in judgment for him not to tell you earlier?”

“Yes,” a distracted Biden replied, his first public comments on the inexplicable actions of his hand-picked “woke” defense secretary who not only went missing but did so at a time when the U.S. is supporting two foreign conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza with another one in Yemen on the burner.

Austin was taken by ambulance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on New Year’s Day after reportedly suffering complications from surgery for prostate cancer that he underwent just before Christmas. His team did not inform the White House of his stay in the ICU until three days after he was admitted.

NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby addressed the bipartisan calls for Austin’s resignation, insisting that the president is still confident in his errant military boss.

“The president has made it clear. Secretary Austin is his defense secretary, will remain his defense secretary,” the regime spox told MSNBC. “He has full faith and confidence in Secretary Austin and his leadership.

“It’s true, we didn’t know he was hospitalized, and I’ve said repeatedly that that’s a problem,” Kirby said during a press briefing this week. “That should not happen again — that if a Cabinet official becomes hospitalized or has to be seen for medical, certainly to the degree where the authority has to be delegated, that the White House needs to know.”

“I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better,” Austin said in a statement last week. “But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”

“Secretary Austin continues to be hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and remains in good condition,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a Friday statement.

“He’s in contact with his senior staff and has full access to required secure communications capabilities and continues to monitor DOD’s day-to-day operations worldwide,” Ryder added. “Secretary Austin was actively engaged this week in overseeing and directing the U.S. military’s participation in last night’s multinational strikes against military targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.”

Chris Donaldson

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