John Kirby Confirms: White House Was Not Informed Of Austin’s First Hospital Stay Either

John Kirby, Director of Strategic Communications for the National Security Council, confirmed on Tuesday that the White House was not informed of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s initial hospital stay for prostate cancer surgery.

News broke over the weekend that Austin had been hospitalized on January 1 — and even spent some time in the Intensive Care Unit at Walter Reed Military Medical Center — due to complications from an elective procedure. And a short time later, the news broke that the White House had not been informed of the Defense Secretary’s hospitalization until several days later.

When Austin’s doctors finally spoke to his condition on Tuesday, they revealed that he had undergone an initial procedure — during which he was under general anesthesia and spent the night in the hospital — on December 22.

According to Kirby, however, the White House was not informed of that initial hospital stay either.During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, both Kirby and Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were questioned about Austin’s condition and what Biden had been apprised of and when.

“So, the president has known for … five days … Secretary Austin was in the hospital, but he wasn’t informed why?” CBS’ Nancy Cordes asked

“He was not informed until last Friday that Sec. Austin was in the hospital. He was not informed until this morning that the root cause of that hospitalization was prostate cancer,” Kirby said.

“Is that because the WH knew and didn’t inform the president or because Secretary Austin chose not to share that with the president?” Cordes pressed.

“Nobody at the White House knew that Secretary Austin had prostate cancer until this morning and the President was informed immediately after we were informed,” Kirby replied.

“We learned also today that Secretary Austin when he went into the hospital for the first time on December 22, he knew he was going to be under general anesthesia, spending the night, and transferred authority to his deputy secretary,” Cordes asked in a follow-up. “Was the White House informed then that the authority was going to be transferred?”

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