Biden says Austin had lapse in judgment following hospitalization debacle, says he still has confidence in him

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President Biden admitted Friday that it was a lapse in judgment for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin not to tell him or the public about his hospitalization last week, but he still has confidence in his Pentagon chief’s leadership.

During a visit to small businesses outside Allentown, Pennsylvania, Biden said ‘yes’ when asked by reporters if it was a lapse in judgment for Austin not to tell him about his condition.

When a reporter asked him if he still has confidence in Austin’s leadership following his hospitalization debacle, Biden replied, ‘I do.’

Austin, 70, remains hospitalized as he is being treated for complications following prostate cancer surgery.

The Pentagon publicly revealed on Jan. 5 that Austin had been in the hospital since Jan. 1 due to complications from elective surgery. 

But it was later revealed that not only was the media kept in the dark, the highest levels of the White House and top officials in the Pentagon itself were not aware until Jan. 4 that Austin was in the hospital.

The non-disclosure prompted a flurry of bipartisan concern, with top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees calling for more transparency about the incident.

In a statement to Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, the White House confirmed that Biden continued to have ‘full trust and confidence’ in the Pentagon’s leader.

‘The President has full trust and confidence in Secretary Austin. He’s looking forward to him being back at the Pentagon,’ the official said.

The Pentagon echoed the White House sentiment in a statement to Fox News Digital on Monday, saying Austin also has no plans to resign.

‘Secretary Austin has no plans to resign,’ Pentagon press secretary Major General Pat Ryder said. ‘He remains focused on conducting his duties as Secretary of Defense in defense of our nation.’

Austin’s hospital stay began on New Year’s Day.

Details of his visit remain slim, beyond that he was there for an elective procedure.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.

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