President Joe Biden temporarily ceded power to Vice President Kamala Harris in a visit to a medical center on Friday, according to the White House, when he was under anesthesia for a regular colonoscopy for one hour and 25 minutes.
When Harris temporarily stepped into the acting capacity, the nation’s first female, first Black, and first South Asian vice president broke yet another barrier. Harris worked from her West Wing office while Biden was sedated, according to Psaki.
Psaki tweet indicated that @POTUS spoke with @VP and @WHCOS in the morning at around 11:35 a.m. and @POTUS was in a good mood and resumed his duties at that time. Biden would then remain at Walter Reed for the course of his routine physical assessment
Biden, who celebrates 79 on Saturday, walked in Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday morning for his first annual physical examination as president.
It is customary for the vice president to assume presidential powers during the president’s anesthetic-induced medical care. When then-President George W. Bush underwent routine colonoscopies, then-Vice President Dick Cheney did the same thing in many instances.
At 10:10 a.m. ET, Biden wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Senate’s president pro tempore, to legally transfer presidential powers to Harris.
The Twenty-Fifth Amendment’s Dictates
The letter indicated that Biden would be sedated for a routine medical operation. In light of the circumstances, the President decided to temporarily transfer the powers and duties of the President of the United States to the Vice President during the procedure and recovery period.
According to Section 3 of the US Constitution, the President may write to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate declaring that they are “unable to discharge the powers and duties of their office,” and that “until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”
After the operation, a separate letter was delivered to restore Biden’s power.
“Following 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 than 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 to Pelosi and Leahy reads.
Previously, former President Donald Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham hinted that Biden’s predecessor underwent a colonoscopy during a secret visit to Walter Reed in 2019, but kept the details low key to avoid transferring presidential authority to then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Grisham does not use the text colonoscopy in her book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” but profoundly indicates that the trip was for that purpose. According to her, Trump’s hospital visit, which sparked weeks of conjecture about his health, was a “quite routine procedure” in which “a patient is sedated.” Further, she states that Bush underwent a comparable procedure while in office. According to Grisham, Trump did not want then-Vice President Mike Pence to be in power while he was sedated, which is why he kept his visit confidential. Additionally, Grisham says, Trump “did not want to be the object of a mockery” on late-night television.
Biden’s Medical History a Glance
Biden is still the oldest first-term president in US history, and the last full update on his medical history came nearly two years ago in December 2019, when his presidential campaign provided a three-page summary of his medical history.
Dr. Kevin O’Connor, who has been Biden’s care physician since 2009, classified him at the time as “a healthy, vibrant, 77-year-old male.”
Biden was being treated for non-valvular atrial fibrillation, or AFib, according to the 2019 report — an abnormal heartbeat for which O’Connor stated Biden has no symptoms. He was using Crestor to control his cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as Eliquis to prevent blood clots, Nexium to treat acid reflux, and Allegra and a nasal spray to manage seasonal allergies.
According to O’Connor, the most major medical episode in Biden’s life came in 1988, when Biden developed a brain aneurysm. He was a senator at the time. During surgery, surgeons discovered another aneurysm that had not bled and treated it as well.
Biden developed deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism while in the hospital following that procedure. At the time, doctors implanted an “inferior vena cava filter” to prevent further blood clots from reaching the heart and lungs, and treated him for several months with an oral anticoagulant.