Speaking in Somerset, Massachusetts, about what he wants to do about the climate and creating energy jobs, Biden talked about his childhood and oil pollution growing up in Delaware.
“Five years ago, this towering power plant that once stood with cooling towers 500 feet high closed down,” Biden said. “The coal plant at Brayton Point was the largest of its kind in New England. 1,500 megawatts of power, enough to power one in five Massachusetts homes and businesses.”
Biden said that the plant had a bad “legacy” of “toxins, smog, greenhouse gas emissions,” which he said contributed to the “climate emergency.” Biden said that Gina McCarthy, who was a former regulator in Massachusetts, told him that people “used to get a rag out and wipe the gunk off of their car’s windshield in the morning just to be able to drive.”
Biden said that story was “not very much unlike where I grew up in place called Claymont, Delaware, which has more oil refineries that Houston, Texas…”
“I just lived up the road in an apartment complex when we moved to Delaware, and just up the road a little school I went to, Holy Rosary grade school, and because it was a four lane highway that was accessible, my mother drove us and rather than us be able to walk,” Biden said. “And guess what? The first frost, you know what was happening, you’d have to put on your windshield wipers to get literally the oil slick off the window.”
“That’s why I and so damn many other people I grew up [with] have cancer, and I why can’t for the longest time, Delaware had the highest cancer rate in the nation,” Biden continued.
The White House later responded by claiming that Biden “mistakenly stated (present tense) that he has cancer,” according to a reporter.
NEW – Biden says, "I and so damn many other people I grew up with have cancer" because of oil pollution in his home state Delaware.pic.twitter.com/Zbaj4BWTkK
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) July 20, 2022
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler rushed in to defend Biden by attacking the Republican National Committee for simply highlighting Biden’s exact words.
The RNC Research Twitter account tweeted: “Did Joe Biden just announce he has cancer? ‘That’s why I — and so damn many other people I grew up with — have cancer.’”
Kessler responded: “How dumb is this tweet? Check out Biden’s medical report. Before he became president, he’d had non-melanoma skin cancers removed. Has no one at @RNCResearch ever had this common procedure?”
Kessler included a screenshot from the White House report on Biden’s health last year.
Under a subsection titled “Skin Cancer Surveillance, routine,” the report stated:
It is well-established that President Biden did spend a good deal of time in the sun in his youth. 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. Total body skin exam was performed for dermatologic surveillance. Several small areas of actinic change were treated with liquid nitrogen cryotherapy, but there are no areas suspicious for skin cancer at this time. No biopsies were required.
However, political analysts were quick to push back on Kessler’s defense of Biden, including Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume, who responded: “The medical report you cited in your thread says he HAD skin cancers removed and has since had actinic keratoses frozen off since. Today, Biden say he HAS cancer.”
The medical report you cited in your thread says he HAD skin cancers removed and has since had actinic keratoses frozen off since. Today, Biden say he HAS cancer. https://t.co/y1JN39mTTN
— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 20, 2022
This report has been updated to include additional information.