Joe Biden claims he has cancer during a speech in Somerset, Massachusetts, concerning the dangers of emissions from oil refineries. Biden said, “That’s why I and so damn many other people I grew up with have cancer and why for the longest time Delaware had the highest cancer rate in the nation.” The White House responded by saying the President was referring to skin cancer before his presidency.
NEW YORK POST: Joe Biden says he ‘has’ cancer thanks to oil industry — but WH points to skin cancer years ago
Steven Nelson; July 20, 2022
President Biden said Wednesday that he has cancer, forcing the White House press office to quickly clarify that he was referring to skin cancer treatment that he had before taking office last year.
The remark initially appeared to be a stunningly casual health announcement during a speech about global warming in which the president described emissions from oil refineries near his childhood home in Claymont, Del.
“That’s why I and so damn many other people I grew up with have cancer and why for the longest time Delaware had the highest cancer rate in the nation,” Biden said.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates referred The Post to a tweet from Washington Post columnist Glenn Kessler, who noted that Biden had “non-melanoma skin cancers” removed before he took office.
It’s unclear why Biden chose to use the present verb tense to describe his experience with cancer.
“He said ‘I have cancer’ in the present tense you absolute dips–t,” Greg Price of XStrategies LLC tweeted in response to Kessler.
Anarchist author Michael Malice, meanwhile, joked, “Don’t worry about Joe Biden having cancer, he is married to a doctor” — referring to the fact that first lady Jill Biden uses the honorific “Dr.” to note her 2007 doctorate in education.
Skin cancer is extremely common, especially among older adults who didn’t wear sunscreen in their youth, and generally isn’t life-threatening.
Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, issued a health report last year that didn’t refer to the president as suffering from any current cancers.
O’Connor’s report attributed Biden’s skin cancer to time in the sun, rather than exposure to chemicals used by the oil industry.
“It is well-established that President Biden did spend a good deal of time in the sun in his youth,” O’Connor wrote of his patient, a former swimming pool lifeguard.
“He has had several localized, non-melanoma skin cancers removed with Mohs surgery before he started his presidency. These lesions were completely excised, with clear margins,” the doctor added.
But O’Connor also noted, “there are no areas suspicious for skin cancer at this time.”
Exposure to air pollution can worsen skin conditions. But it’s unclear if Biden ever previously linked oil refiners to his skin growths, or if medical experts have drawn that connection.
Biden, 79, is the oldest-ever US president and his mental acuity is frequently a matter of public debate.
He says, however, that he intends to seek a second term barring ill health in 2024 and his defenders note that he’s struggled for years with gaffes or inaccurate remarks.
Biden often misspeaks while attempting to demonstrate a personal connection to his audiences.
In September, for example, he told Jewish leaders that he remembered “spending time at” and “going to” the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the mass murder of 11 people in 2018. The synagogue said he never visited and the White House later said he was thinking about a 2019 phone call to the synagogue’s rabbi.
That same month, Biden told an Idaho audience that his “first job offer” came from local lumber and wood products business Boise Cascade. The company said it was news to them and Biden had not previously described an interest in moving to the state.
In January, Biden told students of historically black colleges in Atlanta that he was arrested during civil rights protests — for which there also is no evidence.
And in May, Biden said at the Naval Academy’s graduation ceremony that he was appointed to the military school in 1965 by the late Sen. J. Caleb Boggs (R-Del.). A search of Boggs’ archives failed to turn up evidence of the appointment.
Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci