(New York Post) 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.