- The Washington Times - Friday, November 19, 2021

President Biden on Friday transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he undergoes a routine colonoscopy, the White House said.

Ms. Harris, the nation’s first woman vice president, becomes the first woman to assume presidential power. 

Mr. Biden will get the medical procedure done at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as part of his annual physical, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“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,” Ms. Psaki said in a statement. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”

Ms. Psaki said the White House will release a full summary of the president’s physical later this afternoon. 



Mr. Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, is the nation’s oldest president.

The president early Friday headed to Walter Reed for what the White House said was a routine annual exam. 

Pressed for months about when Mr. Biden would get an exam, the White House repeatedly pledged to be transparent about the results.

Earlier this year, Ms. Psaki promised to make “all of that information available” about the results of his physical.

Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Biden released a summary of his medical history, which described him as “healthy” and “vigorous.”

The three-page report found that Mr. Biden was treated for irregular heartbeat, gastroesophageal reflux and allergies.

President George W. Bush was the first to use the Constitution’s temporary transfer power, handing the reins to Vice President Dick Cheney twice while undergoing colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007.

Former President Trump also underwent a colonoscopy at Walter Reed in 2019. Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham alleges in her new book that Mr. Trump refused anesthesia for the procedure so he would not have to transfer power to Vice President Mike Pence. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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