Nov 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden briefly transfers power to Harris while he gets colonoscopy

Biden and Harris
Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden briefly transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he underwent a routine colonoscopy at Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday, according to the White House.

Why it matters: The move made Harris the first woman to hold presidential power in U.S. history.

  • Biden also received his first annual physical as president.
  • Biden transferred power to Harris at 10:10 a.m. and resumed his duties around 11:35 a.m., the White House said.

What they're saying: "Certainly today was another chapter in that history," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said when asked about the brief transfer of power. "I think that will be noted for many women, young girls across the country."

Details: "As was the case when President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007, and following the process set out in the Constitution, President Biden will transfer power to the vice president for the brief period of time when he is under anesthesia," Psaki said in a statement.

  • "The vice president will work from her office in the West Wing during this time," she added.
  • Kevin O'Connor, Biden's physician, said in a letter following the medical procedure that the president "remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief."

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details throughout.

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