WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden suggested the Trump White House did not share his desire to fight cancer in a speech on Tuesday night.
Biden, who is considering running for president, discussed reaching out to the Trump administration about the disease. According to Biden, as he left office, he encouraged President Trump’s team to build on the work he did with President Obama to battle cancer. Obama tapped Biden to lead a national “Cancer Moonshot” initiative in 2016. The prior year, Biden lost his son, Beau Biden, to cancer.
Biden made his remarks during an acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award from the National Minority Quality Forum’s Annual Summit on Health Disparities in Washington, D.C.
“What happened was, we did a lot of good work with your help on the Moonshot,” Biden said. “And when we left, I went to this administration and said, ‘You can do a lot. Move.’ But it wasn’t their priority at the time.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Biden’s remarks. A spokesperson for Biden also did not immediately respond to a question about when this discussion took place or who was involved from the Trump administration.
Since leaving office, the former vice president has continued to focus on the disease with the Biden Cancer Initiative. In his speech, Biden described it as “the cause of my life.” Biden also railed against racial disparities in cancer treatment and health care. However, he struck a largely optimistic tone.
“We can, must and are able to do something about it. It’s within our power,” Biden said.
Though Biden is expected soon to launch a presidential bid, he did not discuss the coming election in his speech. Biden also avoided addressing the controversy over his physical interactions with women.
Biden didn’t discuss 2020, but he shared an anecdote about what he said to President Obama as they went out to the Rose Garden to announce his decision not to run in 2016.
“I said something spontaneously … I had not intended to say,” Biden recounted. “I said my one regret of not running is I that wouldn’t be the president who presides over the end of cancer as we know it.”