Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Released From Hospital
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin awaits the arrival of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol for an honor cordon ceremony at the Pentagon on April 27, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital on Monday, according to the Pentagon, ending a roughly two-week stay mired in controversy over a lack of transparency.

The secretary “continues to recover well and, on the advice of doctors, will recuperate and perform his duties remotely for a period of time before returning full-time to the Pentagon,” the Department of Defense (DoD) said in a statement. “He has full access to required secure communications capabilities.”

Austin, 70, was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 1 for complications following a December procedure to treat prostate cancer. He faced blowback when it emerged that many top officials, including President Joe Biden and the deputy who took on some of his duties, were not privy to his health situation for days, if not weeks.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and former President Donald Trump have called for Austin to resign or be fired over the defense secretary’s secretive hospital stay. A number of investigations, including a probe by the DoD’s inspector general, a White House review of Cabinet protocols, and an inquiry in the GOP-led House, have been announced over the past week.

While Austin has said he takes responsibility for the lack of disclosure, White House officials insisted last week that Biden has “complete confidence” in Austin and plans to keep the secretary in place through the remainder of his term despite it being “not optimal” that the commander-in-chief and other leaders did not know what happened for so long.

Austin’s doctors said on Monday that the secretary “progressed well throughout his stay and his strength is rebounding. He underwent a series of medical tests and evaluations and received non-surgical care during his stay to address his medical needs, to include resolving some lingering leg pains. He was discharged home with planned physical therapy and regular follow up. The Secretary is expected to make a full recovery.”


They also noted, “Secretary Austin’s prostate cancer was treated early and effectively, and his prognosis is excellent. He has no planned further treatment for his cancer other than regular post-prostatectomy surveillance.”

Austin also released a statement, saying, “I’m grateful for the excellent care I received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and want to thank the outstanding doctors and nursing staff for their professionalism and superb support. I also am thankful and appreciative for all the well wishes I received for a speedy recovery.”

He added, “Now, as I continue to recuperate and perform my duties from home, I’m eager to fully recover and return as quickly as possible to the Pentagon.”

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