U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet says he will 100% run for president if he is cancer-free after getting surgery to treat a prostate cancer diagnosis he received last month.
He made the remarks in an interview with MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” on Thursday, some of his most definitive to date about his presidential ambitions after exploring the idea of running for the country’s highest office for months.
The cancer diagnosis, made public on Wednesday night, represents a bump in the road for the Colorado Democrat’s White House bid, which, before the diagnosis, he said he was preparing to announce this month.
“I’ve put my family through enough,” Bennet said when asked about the ambiguity about him running for president.
If Bennet enters the race, he will join former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is already in the race. Bennet was chief of staff to Hickenlooper when he was Denver’s mayor.
“Sometimes people say, was he that bad a boss that you have to run against him for president? That’s not the issue,” Bennet said on “Meet the Press Daily.” “We’re very different people… We probably hurt each other on the margin in terms of fundraising at home. I suppose that’s true. But I think we’ve got different points of view about all this, we’ve got very different approaches and experiences, and as I’ve said to others, I think the largest obstacles that John Hickenlooper are going to face in this race are not each other.”
Bennet on Wednesday said he will have surgery in Colorado to treat his cancer during the upcoming Senate recess “and return to work following a brief recovery.”
The two-term, 54-year-old senator did not provide a timeline for when he would know if he is cancer-free, but he says his prognosis is good.
Bennet is slated to visit New Hampshire on Saturday, Sunday and Monday as part of his presidential exploration.
The Associated Press reports Hickenlooper will campaign this weekend in South Carolina, where he is expected to meet with church members who survived a mass shooting in 2015.
The former Colorado governor is scheduled to have dinner and a roundtable discussion Saturday with survivors of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME, Hickenlooper’s campaign announced this week. Nine black parishioners were killed as they prayed during Bible study at the church. The shooter, a white man who said he hoped that the killings would start a race war, is on federal death row.