President Joe Biden reassumed his presidential duties after going under anaesthesia for a routine colonoscopy, during which time, Vice President Kamala Harris served as acting president of the United States.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, with Vice President Kamala Harris at his side, during a speech from the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 28, 2021
“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 anaesthesia,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”
Mr Biden sent letters to Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing “that I am able to discharge the powers and duties of the Office of President of the United States and that I am resuming those powers and duties.”
The president had previously sent letters to Mr Leahy and Ms Pelosi informing them that he had transferred power. As leaders of their respective houses of Congress, Ms Pelosi and Mr Leahy are second and third in line to the presidency, respectively.
Mr Biden arrived at the Walter Reed Medical Centre on Friday for his annual physical, his first while serving as president. Mr Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, is the oldest person in US history to hold the office of president. His age was used as an argument against his candidacy, both by fellow Democrats in the primary, and by Republicans during the general election as he faced off against former President Donald Trump. Before Mr Biden, Mr Trump was the oldest president in history at the time of his swearing-in.