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Trump calls for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to be ‘fired immediately’ following secretive hospital stay

The Republican presidential frontrunner said Austin “should be fired immediately for improper professional conduct and dereliction of duty.”

“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 wrote on Truth Social Sunday.

“He has performed poorly and should have been dismissed 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 added.

Trump’s pointed comments came as it was revealed that not even Austin’s deputy, Kathleen Hicks, was told that the Secretary of Defense was rushed to the intensive care unit of Walter Reed Army Medical Center on New Year’s Day, CNN reports.

He also failed to inform President Biden for three days that he was in the hospital and had assigned at least some of his duties to Hicks, who was on a scheduled vacation in Puerto Rico.

But it remains unclear the extent to which Austin’s duties were delegated to Hicks or whether Austin was involved in any major decisions while at the hospital.

Many Republicans and Pentagon officials, however, have called on Austin to address the secrecy surrounding his absence.

“To think that at a time when we have allies at war in Eastern Europe and here in Israel, that the leader of America’s military at the Pentagon would be out of commission for a number of days, and the President of the United States didn’t know about it,” Former Vice President Mike Pence said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

“I think it was a dereliction of duty and the secretary and the administration, frankly, need to step forward and give the American people the facts.”

In Congress, meanwhile, Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused the Pentagon of failing to inform Congress — as required by law— and said the matter only served to further erode trust in the Biden administration.

“When one of our country’s two National Command authorities is unable to perform their duties, military families, members of Congress and the American people deserve to know the full extent of the circumstances,” he posted on X.

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Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also told Axios that Austin “has been a disaster since Day One and should be replaced by someone who will focus on making the military ready to fight and win wars instead of advancing woke political causes of the Biden [administration.]”

And Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement that if Biden truly did not know about Austin’s hospitalization, “there must be consequences for this shocking breakdown.”

Even an unidentified Pentagon official spoke out against Austin’s failure to report his hospitalization, telling CNN: “There are all of these people around the secretary at all times, who manage him and help him on a day-to-day basis, and no one had the wherewithal to even tell the White House?

“I’m surprised no one is using the word ‘cover-up’ yet,” the official said.

A senior Pentagon official also told CNN they received “strict orders to not contact him and let him rest” while Austin was in the hospital.

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