AG Merrick Garland Going Under the Knife

AG Merrick Garland Going Under the Knife

( – Two of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet officials have had health troubles in recent weeks. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized for complications related to cancer. Now, Attorney General Merrick Garland is going under the knife. The way the AG is handling the situation is markedly different than the way Austin did, however.

DOJ Announcement

The Department of Justice informed the press that Garland would be out of commission over the weekend while undergoing surgery. Spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the “minimally invasive” back surgery will take place on February 3. The attorney general is having an “interlaminar decompression” surgery to address stenosis, or the narrowing of spaces in the vertebrae.

The 71-year-old AG will be under general anesthesia for approximately 90 minutes, and doctors expect him to go home the same day.

According to the DOJ, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will take over for Garland shortly before he goes into surgery and as he recovers. The AG is expected to return to work the week after his surgery.

This won’t be the first time Garland has had surgery while in office. In 2022, the Department of Justice released a statement informing the public about a procedure for an enlarged prostate. At that time, the department let everyone know a week before the surgery, and the Deputy AG took over for him at that time as well.

Both times, the DOJ announced Garland’s surgery, which was very different than what happened when Austin suffered a medical issue.

Defense Secretary Missing

In December, Austin went into the hospital to have surgery on an enlarged prostate. Approximately a week or so later, the Defense secretary experienced an emergency. On January 1, an aide called 911 and asked for an ambulance to respond to his home without any lights or sirens. First responders arrived and took him to Walter Reed National Medical Center.

The day after Austin was admitted, he was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). Like Garland, he transferred some of his operational power to his deputy. However, she was on vacation in Puerto Rico and had no idea she was in charge.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General, C.Q. Brown, wasn’t told Austin was in the hospital until January 2. Nobody bothered to inform the White House until January 4. The president wasn’t aware of the Defense secretary’s surgery the month before either.

After the uproar over Austin, the White House issued guidelines for Cabinet officials to notify the Cabinet affairs offices and White House chief of staff before going in for medical procedures. Additionally, they have to arrange delegation of authority.

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