Over the past several years, President Joe Biden has frequently invoked the 2015 death from cancer of his late son Beau, often to bolster a point, sometimes as an aside, and at times with various details added or removed from the stories he tells.
Biden did so again on Wednesday when he referenced Beau’s death but incorrectly stated that his late eldest son had “lost his life in Iraq,” Breitbart reported.
Except, while Beau did serve in Iraq as a reservist in the Delaware Army National Guard, he did not die while deployed in a war zone, but rather succumbed years later to brain cancer that might have been linked to the inhalation of toxic fumes emitted by the burn pits the military used to dispose of waste.
Biden’s false statement about Beau’s death
That inaccurate remark from President Biden came during a speech he delivered in Colorado to designate an old U.S. Army base, Camp Hale, and the Continental Divide as a new national monument.
In reference to Camp Hale, the president spent a few moments discussing its critical use during World War II as the training base for the iconic 10th Mountain Division ahead of its “pivotal” attacks in 1945 against the Axis powers in the formidable mountains of Italy.
“Just imagine — and I mean this sincerely. I say this as a father of a man who won the Bronze Star, the Conspicuous Service Medal, and lost his life in Iraq,” Biden said. “Imagine the courage, the daring, and the genuine sacrifice — genuine sacrifice they all made.”
President @JoeBiden incorrectly said his late son Beau “lost his life in Iraq.” https://t.co/oZ9GRyRjcI pic.twitter.com/8OvjbQgUaT
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 12, 2022
Biden has linked Beau’s cancer death to toxic burn pits in Iraq
The Washington Examiner reported that President Biden, since at least 2016, has repeatedly insinuated or openly claimed that his son Beau’s brain cancer was linked to the toxic fumes of the burn pits in Iraq — though such linkage has never been definitively proven.
In fact, Biden’s belief that Beau had lost his life because of the toxic burn pits was cited by the president as a key factor for him in August to sign into law legislation known as the PACT Act, which provides additional assistance for veterans’ healthcare.
He said as much twice during his remarks while signing the PACT Act into law, first while addressing the daughter of another service member whose death was linked to the burn pits, who was seated next to Biden’s grandson, when he said, “His daddy lost to the same burn pits, and he knows what you’re going through.”
Later in that speech, Biden said of the soldiers who endured the toxic fumes of the burn pits, “When they came home, many of the fittest and best warriors that we sent to war were not the same — headaches, numbness, dizziness, cancer. My son Beau was one of them.”
To be sure, the president is free to invoke the death of his dearly beloved late son Beau, though it does come across as a bit unseemly when in a political context, but he does not have the right to inaccurately alter the circumstances and details of that death, however tragic it may have been, to better fit into a particular speech.