President Joe Biden will briefly transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he undergoes a routine physical and colonoscopy Friday, the White House said, making Harris the first woman to hold presidential authority.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Biden will transfer power to Harris during the time he is under anesthesia for the procedure.
Harris, the first woman, person of color and person of South Asian descent to be vice president, will briefly make history during her time serving as acting president.
Psaki said Harris will work from her office in the West Wing while Biden undergoes the procedure.
Biden, 78, is getting his first physical exam since becoming president at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside of Washington, D.C.
Former President George W. Bush also briefly transferred power when he had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007, Psaki said.
Biden is the oldest person to serve as president, and his physical comes one day before his 79th birthday.
Biden’s last physical was in December 2019, when doctors found him “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency,” according to a report from his doctors. In Biden’s last physical report, Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote he was monitoring episodes of atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that Biden has had since 2003, the AP reports. O’Connor, who has served as Biden’s primary care doctor since he took office as vice president in 2009, also noted Biden has not had a recurrence of cranial aneurysms, which Biden underwent surgery to repair two of in 1998. Interest in Biden’s health was high during his run for president, which he acknowledged as a legitimate question while on the campaign trail. “The only thing I can say is watch. Watch! Check my energy level, determine whether I know what I’m talking about,” he said at the time. Psaki said the White House will publicly release a written summary of the president’s physical later Friday afternoon.
Biden to have routine colonoscopy, transfer power to Harris (The Associated Press)