President Joe Biden’s administration pledged from Day One to restore truth and transparency to the federal government — but now it’s facing a maelstrom of criticism and credibility questions after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization was kept secret for days, even from the White House.
The controversy has prompted a government-wide review of what protocols are in place to prevent such failures and the Pentagon is scrutinizing its own procedures following the extraordinary lapse, which left even Austin’s top deputies unaware of his condition for days. Senior congressional Republicans are investigating whether Austin ignored legal requirements to inform Congress, and Biden administration officials are privately fuming about Austin’s lack of disclosure, believing it to be an unforced error that undercuts the president’s message of restoring competency through his administration.
The prolonged focus on a senior official’s medical secrecy is also shedding an unwelcome spotlight on Biden’s own health, which already was under scrutiny as the oldest president in history seeks another term and faces regular questions and concerns from voters about his age. Combined, the questions over transparency and health have put the White House on the defensive for days as the election year opens and have given ammunition to Biden political opponents who question whether his Democratic administration is living up to its pledges of competency.
By Muhammad Hussain