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Kamala Harris becomes first woman to hold US presidency

Biden transferred powers to VP while under anesthesia

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Nov 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Photo: AFP

Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman in the US to hold presidential powers for a total of 85 minutes while President Joe Biden was under anesthesia.

The official letters to Congress declaring the temporary transfer of power were sent at 15:10 GMT. “The president resumed his duties at 16:35 GMT,” the White House said in a statement.

Biden declared ‘fit’ for presidency

Later in the day, President Joe Biden got a clean bill of health from the White House doctor after undergoing an extensive, routine check-up at Walter Reed hospital.

“The President remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief,” Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician, wrote.

However, these two symptoms were not considered of immediate concern and did not appear to result from serious conditions.

Biden returned to the White House from his checkup. “I feel great. We’re in great shape,” he said.

Historic 85 minutes

While the annual visit to Walter Reed hospital is a routine engagement for a president, the requirement for Biden to transfer power while sedated during a colonoscopy exam made history.

For one hour and 25 minutes, Harris was the first woman to hold presidential power in the United States. She is already the first female vice president.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that a similar temporary transfer of power, “following the process set out in the Constitution,” had been carried out when President George W. Bush underwent the same procedure in 2002 and 2007.

The details on Biden’s health were being closely watched, given speculation on whether he will stand by his stated intention to seek a second term in 2024.

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