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Blue state Democrat puts Lloyd Austin on blast, said he would fire Defense Sec. 'in five minutes'

PoliticsBlue state Democrat puts Lloyd Austin on blast, said he would fire Defense Sec. 'in five minutes'

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A Democrat in deep-blue Massachusetts said Friday that if he were President Biden, he would fire Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “in about five minutes” following his lack of transparency surrounding his hospital stay and surgery to remove cancer.

“I would fire him in about five minutes,” Rep. Seth Moulton, D-MA, told NewsNation on Friday.

Moulton, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said that the scandal over Austin’s failure to promptly notify key officials in the Biden administration of his hospitalization was “completely unacceptable.”

“I can’t imagine that happening at the lowest levels of the military chain of command, like where I was, as a mere lieutenant platoon commander in Iraq,” Moulton said. “I can’t even imagine it happening when I was a 15-year-old busboy. If I was going to be out for a week, I had to tell my boss.”

DEFENSE SEC. LLOYD AUSTIN IN ‘GOOD CONDITION’ AS HOSPITALIZATION APPROACHES TWO-WEEK MARK: PENTAGON OFFICIALS

Rep. Seth Moulton

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) questions Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley during a House Armed Services Committee hearing July 9, 2020 on “Department of Defense Authorities and Roles Related to Civilian Law Enforcement,” in Washington, DC. (GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sec. Lloyd Austin

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized this month after suffering severe pain following an elective procedure to treat his prostate cancer. (Ian Waldie/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Democratic lawmaker said that while it’s the president’s decision whether to keep Austin as the head of the Pentagon, Biden needs to “send a decisive message.”

“It’s up to the president as to whether he fires Secretary Austin, but I tell you what, he needs to send a decisive message that this is never gonna happen again,” Moulton added.

BIDEN SAYS AUSTIN HAD LAPSE IN JUDGMENT FOLLOWING HOSPITALIZATION DEBACLE, SAYS HE STILL HAS CONFIDENCE IN HIM

Moulton said he felt “terrible for Secretary Austin and his family” and wished the secretary a swift recovery.

“But what’s most important is that America gets the national security that it needs, and its troops get the supervision that they need,” he said. “That’s the secretary’s job.”

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Biden has continued to stand behind Austin amid his hospital stay, saying that he still has confidence in the defense secretary’s leadership.

During a visit to small businesses outside Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, Biden answered “yes” when asked by reporters if it was a lapse in judgment for Austin not to tell him about his condition.

When a reporter asked him if he still has confidence in Austin’s leadership following his hospitalization debacle, Biden replied, “I do.”

Secretary Lloyd Austin

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin participates in a meeting with Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto at the Pentagon on June 23, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia.  (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Austin, 70, remains hospitalized as he is being treated for complications following prostate cancer surgery.

The Pentagon publicly revealed on Jan. 5 that Austin had been in the hospital since Jan. 1 due to complications from elective surgery. 

PENTAGON OFFICIALS STUNNED BY DEFENSE SECRETARY KEEPING CANCER DIAGNOSIS SECRET FROM BIDEN

But it was later revealed that not only was the media kept in the dark, the highest levels of the White House and top officials in the Pentagon itself were not aware until Jan. 4 that Austin was in the hospital.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a plenary session at the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia’s annual defense and security forum, in Singapore, Saturday, June 11, 2022.  (AP Photo/Danial Hakim)

The non-disclosure prompted a flurry of bipartisan concern, with top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees calling for more transparency about the incident.

Austin’s hospital stay began on New Year’s Day.

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Details of his visit remain slim, beyond that he was there for an elective procedure.

Rep. Seth Moulton’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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