July 12, 2024

US Secretary of State Austin temporarily steps down

US Secretary of State Austin temporarily steps down

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is temporarily handing over his duties to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks, due to a medical procedure, the Pentagon announced Friday in Washington. According to information, this is a planned, “minor, non-invasive” procedure on Austin’s bladder. Therefore, it is not related to the 70-year-old secretary’s cancer diagnosis. The statement said that the White House and the US Congress have been informed of the incident. The department will be informed again after the procedure.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.Image: Cornerstone

In the United States, it is common practice for the public to be intimately informed about the health of senior politicians. Austin came under fire earlier this year for keeping a secret about his prostate cancer and hospital stay following complications from the procedure. Even President Joe Biden was unaware for several days that his secretary was in the hospital. The Pentagon subsequently launched an internal investigation to determine who was responsible and who was notified if the secretary fell ill.

Since the incident, the department has been closely monitoring Austin’s health. In mid-February, he briefly handed over his official duties to Rep. Hicks due to a bladder problem. (DAP/SDA/DPA)

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