Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) announced this week that he would seek impeachment charges against Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The move came after Austin reportedly did not inform the White House about surgery and time spent in a hospital.
Rosendale said that Austin had “violated his oath of office” due to several reasons, including the hospitalization. Rosendale also cited the Biden administration’s 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, the 2023 response to the Chinese spy balloon and the situation at the southern border.
“Sec. Austin is unfit for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which is why I urge my colleagues to join me in impeaching him to protect the American people,” said Rosendale.
President Joe Biden is reportedly not considering dismissing the defense secretary.
Austin did not inform the president of the hospitalization. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was not informed of the secretary’s absence for three days. Hicks was vacationing in Puerto Rico at the time.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said that there had to be “full accountability beginning with the immediate resignation of Secretary Austin and those that lied for him.”
The defense secretary has announced no intention to step down so far.
Austin’s time in the hospital overlapped with the period that the deputy secretary of defense was on vacation herself, creating a unique and potentially dangerous issue during a time of serious global conflict.
Austin’s own office released a memo ordering a review to determine how the Pentagon’s second-in-command received word about Austin’s absence and the responsibilities the absence caused.
The Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense released a Memo today calling for a Review of the “Facts and Circumstances” regarding the recent Hospitalization of Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin who was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical… pic.twitter.com/hh8sOPryxn
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) January 9, 2024
The office wrote that the review would allow the Pentagon to ‘better understand the facts surrounding these events and to recommend appropriate processes going forward.” The review would also create a complete timeline of Austin’s hospitalization and how the Pentagon handles such situations.
Notably, the review would also create recommendations “for improving the existing processes for notification of the President of the United States, senior officials within the Department of Defense and other relevant parties, as appropriate.”