Trump Criticized for Demanding Dismissal of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin

Donald Trump, the former President, caused a stir in early January by demanding the immediate dismissal of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for his unreported week-long absence.

Allegations of Neglect 

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Trump, in a fiery Jan 7 post on Truth Social, accused Austin of neglecting his duties, labeling his absence without notice as a “dereliction of duty,” for not disclosing his location to superiors.

Reasons Behind Trump’s Demand

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Trump’s dismissal demand came in response to reports that the White House was not aware of Austin’s hospitalization.

White House Unaware of Austin’s Hospitalization

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According to a Politico report, the Pentagon did not inform President Joe Biden and other high-ranking White House officials about Austin’s hospitalization for three days.

Austin’s Hospitalization Details

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The defense secretary was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Walter Reed Medical Center on January 1, 2024, due to complications stemming from a minor elective medical procedure, and his hospitalization was made public on January 4 by the Pentagon.

Concerns Arise Over Lack of Disclosure 

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The lack of disclosure raised widespread questions, with members of Congress from both parties expressing concerns about the secrecy surrounding Austin’s hospitalization and the communication breakdown with top officials.

Growing Demand for Austin’s Resignation 

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Trump joined other Republican Representatives like Matt Rosendale and Elise Stefanik in urging Austin’s resignation following his undisclosed admission to the hospital.

“Failed Secretary of Defense”

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The former president wrote, “Failed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin should be fired immediately for improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty,” 

“Missing for One Week”

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He added, “He has been missing for one week, and nobody, including his boss, Crooked Joe Biden, had a clue as to where he was or might be,” he added.

Most Embarrassing Moment in the History

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“He has performed poorly, and should have been dismissed long ago, along with ‘General’ Mark Milley, for many reasons, but in particular the catastrophic surrender in Afghanistan, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of our Country!” Trump concluded.

Public Response to Trump’s Remarks

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Trump’s demand on social media for Austin’s dismissal was met with widespread backlash, with many questioning his authority and others mocking his own performance record.

“He’s not the President” 

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One user stated, “Who the f*** cares what he’s “calling” for. He’s not the President.” 

Trump’s Competence Questioned

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Another user commented, “If anyone knows how to perform poorly, it’s Donald Trump,” while another stated, “That is not *defendant* trump’s call to make.”

Punishment for Melania 

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One user asked, “What punishment is Trump calling for Melania after she went missing for an entire month?” 

Trump has No Power

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While another questioned Trump’s authority, “When is somebody gonna tell Trump? He has no power here be gone. There’s somebody drops the house on him too,” 

Biden Admin Stands by Austin

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The Biden administration in response to calls for Austin’s firing, has remained firm in retaining him, as confirmed by national security spokesperson John Kirby during a press briefing on Jan 8. Kirby said the White House does not intend to dismiss the Pentagon chief.

Defense Secretary’s Impeachment

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On January 9, Republican Representative Matt Rosendale filed an article of impeachment against Austin. However, the article doesn’t center around Austin’s failure to disclose the hospitalization, instead targeting the defense secretary for having “allowed a Chinese high-altitude balloon to fly over North American airspace unimpeded.” 

“Violated his Oath of Office” 

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The lawmaker stated that Austin’s decision not to disclose his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., “violated his oath of office” and has endangered American lives.

National Security Compromised

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“Sec. Austin knowingly put the American people in danger and compromised our national security when he allowed a spy balloon from a foreign adversary to fly over Malmstrom Air Force Base – home to ICBMs – and allowed the Chinese Communist Party to gather intel on American citizens,” Rosendale said in a statement. 

“Once Again Lied”

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It concluded, “This dishonesty seems to be a repeated pattern for the Secretary as he once again lied to our military and the American people about his health last week.”

Still In Hospital

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Austin was released from hospital on January 15. “Secretary Austin’s prostate cancer was treated early and effectively, and his prognosis is excellent,” the Pentagon stated. He has no planned further treatment for his cancer other than regular post-prostatectomy surveillance.”

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