WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL) joined August Pfluger, Rep. Jake Ellzey, and Rep. Mike Garcia, Members of the MACH 1 Caucus demanding answers from President Joe Biden regarding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's delayed notification of his recent hospitalization.

“Sec. Austin’s evasiveness and lack of transparency is completely unacceptable and constitutes a serious breach of the public’s trust. The fact that the Administration was unaware for several days of the Secretary’s condition is at best a shocking display of incompetence,” said Rep. Franklin, a career Naval aviator. “It also raises important questions Americans deserve answers to, namely who was at the helm while the Secretary was incapacitated and why did the Deputy Secretary remain on vacation out of the country? If not the Secretary, who gave final approval to execute the drone strike to take out Abu Taqwa or conferred with Israel regarding their drone strike on a high-ranking Hamas leader? Who was coordinating U.S. support in the Middle East and Ukraine? And perhaps most important, what else in the Biden Administration is operating without proper oversight and leadership? We’re walking a thin line to avoid all-out war in the Middle East while the Secretary of Defense is missing in action.  Congress must investigate this colossal blunder and the Secretary should resign immediately.”

In the letter, the Members write: "We believe Secretary Austin’s blatant violation of the Pentagon’s Principles of Information and serious lapse in judgment warrants his immediate resignation, as well as the resignation of any staff involved in covering up his hospitalization. If he does not resign, he should be immediately dismissed."

The MACH 1 Caucus is a coalition of former military pilots in Congress applying their military knowledge and experience to develop meaningful policy and educate colleagues on issues related to our nation’s Air Power.

Read the full letter here