President Joe Biden on Friday temporarily transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he was under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy for one hour and 25 minutes, according to the White House.
The nation’s first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president broke yet another barrier when she temporarily stepped into the acting role. Harris worked from her office in the West Wing while Biden was under anesthesia, according to Psaki.
“@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.
Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, arrived Friday morning at Walter Reed Medical Center to undergo his first routine annual physical since taking office.
It’s routine for a vice president to assume presidential powers while the president undergoes a medical procedure that requires anesthesia.
To officially transfer the presidential powers to Harris, Biden sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the president pro tempore of the Senate, before going under anesthesia.
In order to transfer the powers back to Biden, a separate letter was sent after the procedure.
“Today that was another chapter in that history for many women, young girls across the country,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, noting Harris’ trailblazing role.