First lady Jill Biden took her husband’s unity agenda to an unlikely location on Monday, when conservative cable station Newsmax aired an interview with her about cancer research.
Curing cancer is a central goal for President Joe Biden, whose oldest son, Beau, died of a brain tumor seven years ago. Last month, he urged Americans to embrace a “moonshot” initiative to reduce deaths, one of several goals he hopes will cross party lines in today’s divisive political environment.
“It’s not a red issue, a blue issue,” the first lady told Newsmax. “Cancer affects every American.”
It was a friendly conversation on a station better known for digressions from the president and his fellow Democrats. Newsmax is also facing a lawsuit for broadcasting false claims of voter manipulation. The sender denies the error.
The interview was conducted by Nancy Brinker, who hosts a show on the cable channel and founded the breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The organization is named after Brinker’s sister, who died of cancer.
Biden and Brinker have known each other for years and they previously worked together in Palm Beach, Florida, for a June 23 event about cancer screening. They spoke at the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center on Saturday, and the interview will air during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Biden said four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, and one of them died. She said the experience drove her to found the Biden Breast Health Initiative, which educated young girls in Delaware about breast health.
“Early detection is key because if you catch it early, you’re so much more likely to survive breast cancer,” Biden said.
She encouraged people to catch up on cancer screenings they had postponed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“More people are going back and realizing, god, I forgot to do my colonoscopy,” she said. “I didn’t get my mammogram. I didn’t get my skin exam.”
Biden spoke of the impact of Beau’s death and described how the tragedy had shaken her faith.
“I never gave up hope until he took his last breath,” she said. When that happened, “I had an empty, angry feeling.”
Biden said years later that a woman approached her at a church in South Carolina and said, “I want to be your prayer partner.”
She attributed that relationship to the restoration of her faith.
“I felt like it was God’s way of saying to me, ‘Okay, come back,’” Biden said.
During the interview, Brinker asked Biden, “How do you deal with the intensity of all the media?”
“I don’t know,” Biden replied. “I think you’re learning to take it in a little bit. You got you, you can’t be influenced by the negativity of much of it.