President Biden revealed on Monday that former President Jimmy Carter has asked him to deliver his eulogy when he dies, before recognizing that he “shouldn’t say that.”
Biden, 80, made the apparent gaffe during a Democratic Party fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. while speaking about the health of Carter, who entered hospice care on Feb. 19.
“I spent time with Jimmy Carter and it’s finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough,” Biden told the audience of some 40 guests, according to the Hill.
“He asked me to do his eulogy,” Biden said, before catching himself and adding, “Excuse me, I shouldn’t say that.”
Biden’s comments on the 98-year-old former president’s condition came near the end of his speech, as he heralded his cancer moonshot initiative and called for more funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health – which supports the development of high-impact research that may not be commercially viable.
In August 2015, Carter, who served as the 39th president of the US from 1977 to 1981, underwent surgery to remove a mass from his liver. Later that month, he held a news conference to disclose that doctors had found melanoma, “four very small spots,” on his brain.
After several months of treatment, Carter’s doctors said that he was officially cancer-free.
Last month, the Carter Center announced that after a “series of short hospital stays,” the longest-living US president decided against “additional medical intervention” and is receiving in-home hospice care in Plains, Ga.
The center said Carter has “the full support of his family and his medical team.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted earlier this month that Biden and Carter have “known each other since 1976,” when Biden became the first elected official outside of the Peach State to endorse Carter for president.
The former commander-in-chief and former first lady Rosalynn Carter endorsed Biden in pre-recorded remarks at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
“Joe Biden must be our next president,” Jimmy Carter said, adding that Biden is “the right person for this moment in our nation’s history.”