Austin Denies Requesting ‘Subtle’ Ride To Hospital, Blames Aide: ‘Should Come Out In The Review’
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon on February 1, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said his assistant requested a low-profile ambulance ride to a hospital on January 1 after Austin experienced complications from an earlier surgery.

Austin apologized on Thursday for his role in a coverup earlier this year after he and his team failed to inform the White House and the American public that the defense chief had been hospitalized because of complications from prostate cancer surgery. Austin entered the hospital on January 1, but failed to inform the White House that he was indisposed until four days later.

On January 1, an assistant requested an ambulance for Austin, but asked if it could show up without lights and sirens on to keep the situation “subtle.” Austin said Thursday that the request did not come from him, and that the reasons for why the aide asked should come out in a review.

“I asked my assistant to call the ambulance. I did not direct him to do anything further than just call the ambulance, and so what he said and why he said it, I think that should come out in the review,” Austin said.

A recording of 911 call for Austin’s ambulance was reviewed by The Washington Post.

“Can the ambulance not show up with lights and sirens? We’re trying to remain a little subtle,” Austin’s aide said, according to the Post.

The 911 dispatcher replied, “Usually, when they turn into a residential neighborhood they’ll turn them off.” The dispatcher said that ambulances are legally required to activate lights and sirens on main roads, however.

Austin began the Thursday press conference by taking “full responsibility” for how his cancer diagnosis and hospitalization were handled.


“We did not handle this right, and I did not handle this right. I should’ve 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.

He said he initially kept the information private because he is a “private guy.” He added that he has “learned from this experience” and that, as a public official, he cannot expect the same level of privacy as a private citizen.

“I want you all to know why this happened. I was being treated for prostate cancer. The news shook me, and I know that it shakes so many others, especially in the black community. It was a gut punch, and, frankly, my first instinct was to keep it private. I don’t think it’s news that I’m a pretty private guy. I never liked burdening others with my problems. It’s just not my way,” Austin said.

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Austin Denies Requesting ‘Subtle’ Ride To Hospital, Blames Aide: ‘Should Come Out In The Review’