Bob Dole visited by Biden after announcing cancer diagnosis

US president confirmed that 1996 Republican presidential nominee is ‘doing well’

James Crump@thejamescrump
Sunday 21 February 2021 14:37
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President Joe Biden visited Bob Dole on Saturday, just a few days after the former Republican senator announced that he had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

Mr Biden visited Mr Dole, 97, a World War II veteran and 1996 Republican presidential nominee, at his home in the Watergate complex in Washington, DC, on Saturday afternoon.

Following the visit, which was not on the president’s public schedule, the White House described the former Kansas senator as a “close friend” of Mr Biden, while he told reporters that Mr Dole is “doing well”.

After announcing his cancer diagnosis last week, Mr Dole confirmed that he would begin undergoing treatment on Monday.

“While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own,” he said in a statement.

Mr Dole was one of a small number of senior Republicans who publicly said that Mr Biden won November 2020’s presidential election, amid Donald Trump’s repeated false claims of widespread fraud in favour of the Democrats late last year.

“The election is over and (Joe) Biden will be president on January 20. I know the president has not conceded and he may never concede, but he will not be in the White House on January 21,” he told the Kansas City Star in December.

The 97-year-old called Mr Biden a friend in that interview and said that he had been a “good chairman” of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“He did a good job. Proud to be a liberal—hopefully not too liberal—but he knows how the government works and the Congress works and all this will be a benefit to Joe,” he added.

Mr Biden also paid tribute to Mr Dole at a ceremony in 2011 for the former senator’s efforts to create the National World War II memorial.

“He always knew and taught me what many of us have come to know - that we have many obligations in this country, but we only have one truly sacred obligation.

“And that is to prepare those who we send to war with all that they need, and take care of those who return from war and their families with all they deserve,” Mr Biden said about Mr Dole, who was seriously wounded in battle during World War II.

Mr Dole represented his home state of Kansas in the US Senate for 36 years before he resigned in 1996 to run as the Republican candidate for president. He lost the national election to Bill Clinton.

The 97-year-old was also the 1976 Republican vice presidential nominee and served twice as Senate majority leader. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in January 2018.

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