U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris made history again as the first woman to be given presidential power as she stood in for U.S. President Joe Biden while he went under anesthesia for a routine medical procedure on Friday.
Biden underwent a routine colonoscopy, which took an hour and 25 minutes. During that time, the president transferred presidential powers to her. CNN reports Harris worked from her office in the West Wing while Biden was unavailable.
America’s official first female President is President Kamala Harris. It may only be for a few hours.
But there we are. pic.twitter.com/kDflZf70Z9
— Mr. Spock ???? (Commentary) (@SpockResists) November 19, 2021
Biden sent a letter announcing the temporary change around 10 a.m. to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the president pro tempore of the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), prior to his procedure.
"Today I will undergo a routine medical procedure requiring sedation. In view of present circumstances, I have determined to transfer temporarily the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States to the Vice President during the brief period of the procedure and recovery," the letter read, according to Newsweek.
"In accordance with the provisions of section 3 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment of to the United States Constitution, this letter shall constitute my written declaration that I am presently unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States. Pursuant to section 3, the Vice President shall discharge those powers and duties as Acting President until I transmit to you a written declaration that I am able to resume the discharge of those powers and duties," he added.
The president finished his doctor's appointment about one hour and a half later and sent a follow-up letter resuming his powers.
"In accordance with the provisions of section 3 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, I hereby transmit to you my written declaration that I am able to discharge the powers and duties of the Office of the President of the United States and that I am resuming those powers and duties," the letter says.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki updated the country via Twitter that his routine doctor's visit went well.
"@POTUS spoke with @VP and @WHCOS at approximately 11:35am this morning. @POTUS was in good spirits and at that time resumed his duties. He will remain at Walter Reed as he completes the rest of his routine physical," Psaki tweeted.
CNN reports the White House said that actions like these are typically routine for situations when the president is out for medical procedures in which he's required to go under anesthesia. Former President George W. Bush had a similar situation during his presidency when his Vice President Dick Cheney stood in for him while he visited a doctor to have routine colonoscopies performed.