Reporter Rebukes Defense Sec During Tense Briefing: ‘Why Shouldn’t That Same Standard Apply To You?’
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon on February 1, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. Sec. Austin spoke on various topics including his recent hospitalization from a diagnostic of prostate cancer. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

NBC News reporter Peter Alexander rebuked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during a tense briefing on Thursday, asking why he believed he should not be held to the same standard that anyone else in his command would be expected to meet.

Alexander and others questioned Austin directly about his recent absence, his prostate cancer diagnosis that was kept even from President Joe Biden, and his secret trip to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after complications developed from his surgery.


Lloyd opened the briefing by admitting culpability for the lack of communication, and promised that going forward, there would be more transparency from his office and everyone under his command.

“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,” Austin explained. “It’s just not my way. But I’ve learned from this experience. Taking this kind of job means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect. The American people have a right to know if their leaders are facing health challenges that might affect their ability to perform their duties, even temporarily.”


Despite Austin’s concession, Alexander still had questions.

“You were hospitalized for days before you informed the White House or commander-in-chief of your condition in your absence,” the NBC reporter began. “Anyone else within the military chain of command would have faced reprimand or dismissal. Why shouldn’t that same standard apply to you, sir?”

Austin once again said that he took full responsibility for the way the situation had played out: “Let me first say — thanks for the question — that we didn’t get this right. And as I said, I take full responsibility for the department’s actions in terms of why, on the second notification was not made to the White House, that information was available.”

“I’m not sure, at this point, what exactly happened, but I think details will play out as the review is conducted,” Austin said, referencing the Pentagon Inspector General’s plan to review “the roles, processes, and actions” that impacted the way in which things had happened.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Reporter Rebukes Defense Sec During Tense Briefing: ‘Why Shouldn’t That Same Standard Apply To You?’