President Biden Transfers Power to Vice President Harris for 'Brief Period' During Routine Colonoscopy

Kamala Harris became the first woman to hold the power of the U.S. presidency during while the president is under anesthesia

Biden and Harris
President Joe Biden. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty

President Joe Biden is undergoing a "routine colonoscopy" at Walter Reed Medical Center, the White House announced Friday morning.

"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," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, "President Biden will transfer power to the Vice President for the brief period of time when he is under anesthesia."

Psaki added that Vice President Kamala Harris planned to work from her office in the West Wing during the temporary transfer of power, which is outlined in section 3 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

That will make Harris, 57, the first woman to hold the power of the U.S. presidency.

"I am presently unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States," Biden wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. "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."

According to a Tweet from Psaki, the president was in "good spirits" after the procedure and spoke with Harris from the hospital as the transfer of power ended.

Biden was already scheduled for an annual physical at Walter Reed. His motorcade arrived there at 8:51 a.m. Friday morning, according to White House pool reporters, who added that he waved on his way into the building.

Later on Friday, the White House will release a summary of the President's physical, a day before his 79th birthday on Saturday.

Biden is also expected to pardon a pair of Indiana-raised turkeys — named Peanut Butter and Jelly — at the White House on Friday.

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