Psaki says Harris being acting president for 85 minutes during Biden’s colonoscopy is historic

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Kamala Harris became the first woman ‘acting president’ on Friday when President Joe Biden underwent a brief, routine medical procedure in what press secretary Jen Psaki called, a moment “that will be noted for many women, young girls across the country.”

Harris, who is the first female Vice President, served as acting president for a whole hour and 25 minutes while Biden was under anesthesia for a colonoscopy and medical exam at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Harris technically became the first female in the country’s history to hold the commander-in-chief’s office– however brief it may have been.

“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 stated. “The vice president will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”

Biden was back in command just before noon on Friday.

“As a woman myself, I will note that, you know, the president, when he selected her to be his running mate, obviously knew he was making history, was making history that was long overdue, in our view. And part of that was selecting someone who could serve by your side as your partner, but also step in if you were, if there was a reason to, and that includes the application of the 25th Amendment as was done this morning,” Psaki said.

Psaki then noted that Harris and Biden make history every time they work together.

“He also, of course, we also know we make history every time they’re working together, every time she’s out there speaking on behalf of the government as the vice president of the United States,” Psaki stated.

“But certainly today was another chapter in that history. I think that will be noted for many women, young girls across the country,” the press secretary noted.

Biden named Harris acting president right before he went under anesthesia. He also sent letters to Congress to notify members of the temporary transfer of power under Section 3 of the 25th Amendment at 10:10 a.m. ET.

Upon resuming his presidential duties at 11:35 a.m. EST, Biden sent a formal letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Patrick Leahy to alert them of his return.

“In accordance with 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 to discharge 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 stated.

Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

“Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is 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.”

 

As for what Harris was up to in her stint as acting president, she was reportedly spotted arriving at the White House Friday morning before departing for Columbus, Ohio  for an event touting the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Psaki may have thought this was a moment for history books, but others were less enthused about the news regarding Harris, whose current approval numbers sit at just 28 percent.

The results from Biden’s routine check-up were released late Friday.

“President Biden 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 C. O’Connor, physician to the president, concluded in his analysis.

Kay Apfel

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