Hard-line House Republican Matt Rosendale (Mont.) on Monday announced plans to introduce an impeachment resolution against Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over his failure last week to notify the White House and Congress he had been hospitalized for several days, as well as the troubled withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and the Chinese spy balloon that flew over parts of the country last year.
Rosendale, who will be introducing the article of impeachment when the House meets Tuesday afternoon, said Austin’s decision not to disclose his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., “violated his oath of office” and “jeopardized the lives of the American people,” according to a statement from his office.
In an interview with The Vince Coglianese Show earlier Monday, Rosendale declined to say who would be co-sponsoring his action as he had just returned to Washington, D.C. and his team is still “putting this together.”
“I am introducing a resolution tomorrow for impeachment. This is really, really frightening. . . When the secretary of Defense is MIA, that just compounds everything else, every threat that is presented to the country, every conflict that is going on around the world right now. This is very problematic,” said Rosendale, who has said he is “heavily considering running” for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jon Tester.
Austin and the Biden administration have faced increasing scrutiny after the Pentagon did not disclose Austin’s initial Dec. 22 hospital admission for an elective surgery, followed by his readmittance Jan. 1 when the procedure led to health issues. Biden was left in the dark until Thursday, as were other top officials, while Congress was not notified until late Friday afternoon.
Rosendale is not the only House Republican to have called for Austin’s ouster. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), chair of the House Republican Conference, earlier said Austin should immediately resign as his absence without notification erodes trust in the chain of command at a time of multiple global conflicts the U.S. has a hand in.
Former President Trump, meanwhile, in a post on his Truth Social platform called for Austin to be fired.
The Biden administration has stood firm, however, on keeping Austin in place, with national security spokesperson John Kirby telling reporters Monday that there are no plans for the White House to fire the Pentagon chief.
The same day, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder said Austin has no plans to resign, nor do any of his staff.
As of Monday evening, Austin remains hospitalized at Walter Reed. The Pentagon does not have a specific date for his release.
Updated at 8:48 pm.
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