AG Merrick Garland Going Under the Knife

In recent weeks, two members of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet experienced health issues. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was admitted to the hospital due to complications associated with cancer. Currently, Attorney General Merrick Garland is scheduled for surgery. The approach he is taking in managing the situation differs significantly from Defense Secretary Austin’s approach.

The Department of Justice notified the media that Garland would be unavailable during the weekend due to surgery. Spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa mentioned that the “minimally invasive” back surgery is scheduled for February 3rd.

The Attorney General is currently undergoing a surgical procedure known as “interlaminar decompression” to treat stenosis, a condition characterized by the narrowing of spaces within the vertebrae.

After about ninety minutes under general anesthesia, the 71-year-old AG is expected to return home the following day, according to the doctors. The Department of Justice reports that Garland will be replaced by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco while he is recovering from surgery. It is anticipated that the AG will resume work the week following his operation.

Garland has had surgery on previous occasions while holding public office. A declaration about a procedure for an enlarged prostate was made public by the Department of Justice in 2022. A week before the surgery, the department informed everyone, and the Deputy AG also took over for him at that point. The DOJ made announcements about Garland’s surgery on both occasions, which was not the case when Austin experienced a health problem.

Austin checked himself into the hospital in December for surgery on his enlarged prostate. About a week later, the secretary of defense had an urgent situation. An assistant contacted 911 on January 1st, requesting that an ambulance arrive at his house without lights or sirens. He was transported to Walter Reed National Medical Center by first responders when they arrived.

Austin was moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) the day after he was admitted. He gave his subordinate some operational authority, much like Garland did. But she was unaware that she was in command because she was on vacation in Puerto Rico.

It wasn’t until January 2 that C.Q. Brown, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, learned that Austin was hospitalized. Until January 4, no one bothered to notify the White House. The month prior, the president was also unaware of the Defense Secretary’s operation.

Following the controversy surrounding Austin, the White House released directives requiring Cabinet officials to inform the White House chief of staff and the Cabinet affairs offices prior to undergoing medical treatments. They also need to plan for authority delegation.




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