Kamala Harris made history this Friday during 85 minutes by becoming the first woman to occupy the US Presidency for a “short period of time” while the president, Joe Biden, underwent a routine colonoscopy.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced in a statement this morning that Biden was to undergo a colonoscopy as part of his routine physical exam, the first since he arrived at the White House in January.
“Following the procedure established in the Constitution, President Biden will transfer power to the vice president during the short period of time in which she is under anesthesia,” said Psaki, without elaborating, and explained that Harris during that time worked from his office in the west wing.
Later, at the White House press conference, Psaki explained that Biden signed two letters this morning, one at 10:10 to temporarily hand over power to his vice president, and another one hour and 25 minutes later, at 11: 35, to recover it, always in accordance with the steps established by the twenty-fifth amendment to the Constitution.
The third section of said amendment states that In the event of temporary incapacity, the president must send a letter to the president of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate in which he declares that he is temporarily unable to perform the duties and powers of his office, and as long as he does not communicate otherwise. These powers are now carried out by the vice president as acting president.
On January 20, Kamala Harris became the first woman to reach the Vice Presidency of the country, as well as the first African-American to hold that position and the first person of Indian or Asian origin to do so.
With her temporary assumption of the Presidency for just over an hour, Harris has made history again, as Psaki acknowledged at the press conference, in which she noted that the vice president has been doing it since she was elected as Biden’s running mate.
And today, the spokeswoman added, has been “another chapter” in history that will be “appreciated by many women and young people throughout the country.”
As the White House spokeswoman recalled, in 2002 and 2007 then-President George W. Bush underwent “the same procedure.” Both times, Bush delegated power to his vice president, Dick Cheney.
The spokeswoman reported that the president went on Friday to the Walter Reed Medical Center, located in Bethesda, in the neighboring state of Maryland, for a routine physical examination.
The activity, however, did not appear on the official agenda of Biden, who at the age of 78 became the longest-serving president of the United States last January.