Vice President Harris becomes first woman to temporarily hold acting presidential powers

President Joe Biden temporarily transferred power to Vice President Harris on Friday before he went under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy.

Biden had procedure done at Walter Reed Medical Center as part of his annual physical, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“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. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”

During Biden’s operation, Harris became the first woman in US history to hold acting presidential powers. “Today was certainly another chapter in that history I think that will be noted for women, young girls across the country,” she said. As he left the medical center, Biden said he had a “great physical”.

After coming back to the White House, he said “nothing’s changed” with his health, and joked: “We’re in great shape, and I’m looking forward to celebrating my 58th birthday.”

While serving as acting president Harris did not take over the Oval Office and continued to work from her office in the West Wing, Psaki said. Despite his morning surgery, Biden later took part in the annual pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey.

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