Biden briefly transfers power to Harris while he gets colonoscopy
President Biden temporarily transferred power to Vice President Harris on Friday before he went under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy.
Biden had procedure done at Walter Reed Medical Center as part of his annual physical, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“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,” Psaki said. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”
After transferring power at 10:10 a.m., Biden completed his colonoscopy and resumed his duties as president at 11:35 on Friday morning. He spoke with Harris and chief of staff Ron Klain at that time and “was in good spirits,” Psaki said.
.@POTUS spoke with @VP and @WHCOS at approximately 11:35am this morning. @POTUS was in good spirits and at that time resumed his duties. He will remain at Walter Reed as he completes the rest of his routine physical.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) November 19, 2021
The White House will release a summary of the results of Biden’s physical later Friday, Psaki said.
Biden, who will turn 79 on Saturday, was the oldest president in U.S. history at the time he was sworn-in. His age has been a source of attacks from Republicans, and it has made the results of his annual physical a point of interest.
Biden last released the results of a medical assessment in December 2019, during the presidential campaign. That assessment was completed by his longtime physician, Kevin O’Connor, whom Biden has tapped to serve as the top physician in the White House.
The transfer of power while the president is under anesthesia is not unusual, as Psaki noted, though it was a point of contention during the Trump administration.
Former Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham alleged that then-President Trump would not go under anesthesia for a colonoscopy when he was abruptly taken to Walter Reed in 2019 because he didn’t want to transfer power to his vice president, Mike Pence.
Updated at 12:11 p.m.