Washington, D.C. - House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik released the following statement condemning Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for his dismissive response to questions on his hospitalization and demanding his immediate response to the House Armed Services Committee's request to testify regarding his clear dereliction of duty.

“Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s casual dismissal of concerns over his abandonment of duty upon returning to work was both insulting and totally unacceptable. His willful refusal to notify the President, the National Security Council, and the American people exposes not only a lack of serious judgment but a clear dereliction of duty and erosion of the American people’s trust. As our nation is embroiled in multiple conflicts overseas, thanks to Joe Biden’s weak global leadership, it has never been more imperative to have a Secretary of Defense that is transparent and trusted. The American people deserve accountability. Secretary Austin must stop stonewalling our Congressional investigation and agree to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on February 14th.”