Kamala Harris Becomes First Woman With Presidential Power While Joe Biden Undergoes Colonoscopy

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Kamala Harris and Joe Biden talking

This morning, President Joe Biden checked into Walter Reed this morning to perform a physical, where he will be going under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy.

The result? We got our first female president of the United States. Well, kinda.

Since the sitting president was not able to perform any of his presidential duties while under the anesthetic, he temporarily transfered the role to Kamala Harris, the current vice president.

Is Kamala Harris president?

For 85 minutes, Harris became the first woman president in the history of the United States. Or, at least, the first woman with presidential power.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that while Biden is under the anesthetic, Harris will work from her office in the West Wing.

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This was Biden’s, who is turning 79 on Saturday, first routine annual physical since taking office, and doctors have claimed for years that he is in peak physical condition.

Biden's health has not deteriorated. 

Dr. Kevin O'Connor, who has been Biden’s primary care physician since 2009, described Biden as "a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, back in 2019.

Becoming the oldest first-term president in the history of the US has made a lot of people nervous about his physical condition, which is why they released a three-page comprehensive summary of his medical history before winning the election and becoming president.

But this is nothing out of the ordinary and no cause for concern — this isn’t them easing us into a Harris presidency because Biden’s health is deteriorating.

It’s actually quite common for the vice president to assume presidential powers while the president undergoes a medical procedure that requires anesthesia.

Then-Vice President Dick Cheney assumed presidential powers multiple times while then-President George W. Bush had to undergo his routine colonoscopies.

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Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution says the President can send a letter to the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate declaring they are "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and 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."

Donald Trump reportedly also had a colonoscopy while in power.

Former President Trump's ex-press secretary Stephanie Grisham heavily implied that Trump’s mystery Walter Reed visit during his time in office was for the same reason, but that he kept it under wraps to prevent him from having to transfer the power over to former Vice President Mike Pence.

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While she doesn’t use the term colonoscopy in her book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” she heavily implies that's what the trip was for — saying it was a "very common procedure," during which "a patient is put under."

Aside from not wanting to transfer presidential power over to Pence, she wrote that he also "did not want to be the butt of a joke" on late-night television.

The most significant occurrence in Biden’s medical history, O’Connor wrote in the summary, was from 1988 when Biden suffered a brain aneurysm while he served in the Senate.

During surgery, doctors found a second aneurysm that hadn’t bled, which they also treated, and inserted an "inferior vena cava filter," which prevents blood clots from reaching the heart and lungs.

While it seems like our first woman president will come off the back of a standard procedure, it’s cool that at least for a few hours, we can call Harris “Madam President.”

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.