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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin apologizes for secrecy about cancer diagnosis, hospitalization

Feb 2

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In his first public remarks since being hospitalized for complications from surgery to treat his prostate cancer, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin apologized for the secrecy surrounding his medical condition. The defense secretary underwent surgery on Dec. 22, but after serious complications, he returned to the hospital on Jan. 1, the president was informed three days later.

“I want to be crystal clear. We did not handle this right, and I did not handle this right. I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis,” Austin said. “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.”

Austin said when he received his cancer diagnosis in December, it was “a gut punch.” Austin said he is a private person but never directed anyone to keep his hospitalization from the White House.

“As a rule, I don’t talk about conversations with my boss, but I can tell you I have apologized directly to President Biden. And I’ve told him that I’m deeply sorry for not letting him know immediately that I received a heavy diagnosis and was getting treatment,” Austin said. “And he has responded with a grace and warm heart that anyone who knows President Biden would expect.”

Austin said he is continuing to undergo physical therapy and is recovering well. Austin added that at no time was the chain of command broken and there was no risk to the departments command and control during his hospitalization.

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IN HIS FIRST PUBLIC REMARKS — SINCE BEING HOSPITALIZED FOR COMPLICATIONS FROM SURGERY TO TREAT HIS PROSTATE CANCER – DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN APOLOGIZED FOR THE SECRECY SURROUNDING HIS MEDICAL CONDITION.

SUPER: LLOYD AUSTIN | SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: “I want to be crystal clear. We did not handle this right and I did not handle this right. 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.”

AUSTIN said WHEN HE RECEIVED HIS CANCER DIAGNOSIS IN DECEMBER – the news was “A GUT PUNCH.”

THE DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDERWENT SURGERY ON DECEMBER 22ND — and AFTER SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS – HE RETURNED TO THE HOSPITAL ON JANUARY 1ST.

THE PRESIDENT WAS INFORMED THREE DAYS LATER.

AUSTIN SAYS WHILE HE IS A PRIVATE PERSON — HE NEVER DIRECTED ANYONE TO KEEP HIS HOSPITALIZATION FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.

AUSTIN SAYS HE IS CONTINUING TO UNDERGO PHYSICAL THERAPY AND IS RECOVERING WELL.

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