Lloyd Austin
Lloyd AustinREUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized on Sunday "for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue," the Pentagon said in a statement.

"At this time, the Secretary is retaining the functions and duties of his office," Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said.

"The Deputy Secretary is prepared to assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense, if required. Secretary Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties," added Ryder.

The hospitalization comes one month after the Secretary of Defense was hospitalized in order to undergo treatment for cancer.

Austin came under fire for that hospitalization, as the Pentagon kept it not just from the public, but also from the White House – including President Joe Biden himself – and Congress.

In addition, it was reported that, when Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks began assuming some of Austin’s responsibilities on January 2, not even she knew that it was because Austin was hospitalized.

Some prominent Republicans have called for Austin to be removed from his job in wake of the saga. Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he would be introducing articles of impeachment against Austin.