Politics

They Talk a Lot, It Was ‘a Holiday Period’

On Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh responded to questions on why President Joe Biden didn’t learn about Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s absence because the two ought to discuss ceaselessly by stating that they “do speak quite often. Again, we’re coming off of a holiday period. They are in touch frequently. Our staffs, I can tell you, are in touch almost on an hourly basis.”

Host Jake Tapper requested, “Is it not common practice for the President to speak with the Secretary of Defense daily while two consequential wars rage?”

Singh responded, “They do speak quite often. Again, we’re coming off of a holiday period. They are in touch frequently. Our staffs, I can tell you, are in touch almost on an hourly basis. Again, there was no lapse in command of control. Our national security was never at risk, and I would, again, reiterate the fact that the Secretary did, not only apologize, but take responsibility for not notifying the White House of his own procedure that did occur. Again — and also, I’ll stress that we are doing a 30-day review to examine our own processes here, to examine what worked and what did not work. And when we have those results, of course, we will be previewing those as well.”

Tapper then requested, “It just seems odd to me, I just have to say, this is not the director of the Bureau of Weights and Measurements. This is the Secretary of Defense, and there are two major wars that the U.S. is involved in, one way or another in Ukraine and Gaza with Israel, and President Biden and Secretary Austin don’t talk every day?”

Singh answered, “Again, they do have frequent communications. I will tell you and I can reassure you, our staffs, our teams are in constant communication with each other, and the Secretary is — you will not meet someone that works harder than the Secretary of Defense. Again, he has had a short 40 years [of] service here in the military. He prides himself on the fact that he has been able to serve his country. He is in touch with his team here at the Pentagon, with the White House, monitoring everything that’s going on around the world, and, right now, he’s focused on getting better, focused on returning to work, but is able to keep in touch with the White House, just like we saw last night.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett



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