Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressed White House spokesman John Kirby on President Biden’s health after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized for a number of days, unbeknownst to most Pentagon staff and elected officials. Doocy asked why the American people should trust the administration on any news relating to Biden’s health given the secrecy.
“Why should we believe anything that this administration tells us about anything ever again?” Doocy asked.
“I think we all recognize, and I think the Pentagon has been very, very honest with themselves about the challenge to credibility by what has transpired here how hard it was for them to be fully transparent with the American people. I think we all recognize that,” the White House spokesman replied.
Kirby went on to say that “transparency issues” have been “recognized” by the administration before pivoting to praise of Austin’s tenure as defense secretary.
“But if the administration is going to go to such great lengths to keep secrets about the defense secretary’s health, how can anybody be certain that the administration would not go to the same lengths to keep secret problems with President Biden’s health in the future?” Doocy then followed up.
Kirby then claimed that one could not “logically argue” that the White House obscured Austin’s condition on purpose. ” If the administration made some sort of Machiavellian effort across the board to keep this from getting public, then I think your question has merit and certainly is a fair one,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a fair one because that’s not what happened here, Peter. What happened here is the Secretary of Defense, for whatever reason, I can’t answer the question why, that information wasn’t shared. It wasn’t shared widely in the department and it certainly wasn’t shared with the interagency,” Kirby continued, adding that the incident was “not good.”
On Saturday, news broke that Austin had been hospitalized at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for roughly a week due to complications following an elective medical procedure. Members of Congress and U.S. officials were unaware of Austin’s absence or the state of his condition for several days.
Most Pentagon staff did not know Austin was in the hospital until Friday at 5 p.m., instead thinking he was on vacation all week.