Pennsylvania House Democrat Chris Deluzio Calls for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Resign

Published January 12, 2024

Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-PA) became the first Democrat to call on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to resign after he was hospitalized on January 1 but did not tell President Biden, his own deputy, and other top national security officials about his hospitalization until January 4.

Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-PA) is seen while visiting small businesses in Bellevue, Pennsylvania, on August 29, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Deluzio posted on X on Wednesday:

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.

I have a solemn duty in Congress to conduct oversight of the Defense Department through my service on the House Armed Services Committee. That duty today requires me to call on Secretary Austin to resign.



RELATED: Jeffries says Pentagon leader shouldn’t resign after scandal

Published January 11,  2024

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said he thinks Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin should not resign following a scandal about the transparency behind his recent hospitalization.

Austin underwent surgery for prostate cancerDec. 22, a hospital visit that was kept secret from the White House. On Jan. 1, he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to complications, and he also kept that hospitalization secret for days.


The Pentagon and the Biden administration have faced extreme scrutiny in recent days after it was revealed that Austin had been hospitalized for four days. It was later revealed that President Biden and top Defense officials had not been aware of the secretary’s condition for three days.

“From my standpoint, we need far more information before I can make any detailed comment on the appropriate comment on the ways forward. But I do not believe Secretary Austin should resign,” Jeffries said at a press conference Thursday.

Jeffries said his thoughts and prayers are with Austin, a man who “served his country for decades.” He said he is hopeful the secretary makes a “full, complete and speedy recovery.”



RELATED: ‘Let’s face it, they dodged a bullet’ — Leon Panetta explained what exactly went wrong for Lloyd Austin

The former defense secretary and White House chief of staff doesn’t believe the saga will have major ripple effects. But he does think changes are needed.

Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta stands in the audience during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Sept. 7, 2022. | Andrew Harnik/AP
Published January 11, 2024

One of the most immediate fallouts of the Lloyd Austin saga will come tomorrow, when all Cabinet agencies must submit their procedures for delegating authority to the White House.

They will do so in response to an order from chief of staff Jeff Zients, who demanded as much after the Defense secretary’s secret hospitalization sparked questions about transparency and ensuring lines of succession.

To break down this particular element of an ever-expanding story, West Wing Playbook called Leon Panetta, who served both as White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton and secretary of Defense under Barack Obama. This conversation has been edited for length.

Lloyd Austin has done a great job as secretary of Defense. He’s had to deal with a lot of critical issues and be on the road dealing with our allies pretty much full time. But it’s precisely because he’s important to our national security, and a key part of the chain of command, that I think it’s very important for him to have notified the president, the national security team, and obviously the public if in any way he’s incapacitated.




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