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    ‘What You’ve Done Is Embarrass Us’: Republicans Rip into Austin at First Hearing Since Hospitalization

    ‘What You’ve Done Is Embarrass Us’: Republicans Rip into Austin at First Hearing Since Hospitalization

    Republicans tore into Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday over his failure to notify the White House for days about his hospitalization for complications from prostate cancer surgery.

    At his first appearance before Congress since the hospitalization, Austin repeatedly stressed that there were never any gaps in command and control of the during his emergency hospitalization and that procedures for notifying other Pentagon officials and the White House of absences have since been improved.

    But he dodged several questions about holding himself or his staff accountable for failing to notify the president he was in the hospital, and at one point acknowledged he does not know who made the decision not to inform the public, despite the Pentagon completing an internal review into what went wrong.

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    The testimony infuriated Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee, who blasted the secrecy surrounding the early January hospitalization as “totally unacceptable,” an “embarrassment” and “an extreme lack of leadership.”

    “Our adversaries should fear us,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said. “And what you've done is embarrass us.”

    That Austin could be in the hospital for three days without the president knowing, Banks added, suggests “the president is that aloof or you are irrelevant.”

    While some Democrats on the committee said the breakdown in…

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