Antony Blinken (left) and Lloyd Austin (right) with US President Joe Biden during a cabinet meeting in October 2023.
In the middle of an election year and while the United States, the world's leading military power, is closely following two major conflicts, in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, Mr. Austin was operated on and hospitalized twice in December and January without President Joe Biden does not know it.
It was a mistake, the secretary admitted during this press briefing to which he spoke. ;is presented with a still stiff gait.
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Mr. Austin said he apologized directly to Biden and Biden responded with grace.
The case had caused astonishment even in the Democratic camp and sparked calls from Republicans for the resignation of Lloyd Austin.
This time, his department promptly communicated the news of his hospitalization: the media was notified about two hours after he left for Walter Reed Hospital.
The controversy over his health problems came at a time when US forces in Iraq and Syria are regularly targeted by attacks from Iran-backed fighters, according to Washington.