Washington: President Joe Biden will briefly transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris Friday while he’s under anesthesia for a colonoscopy as part of a routine physical exam, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Biden will undergo the procedure Friday morning, a day before his 79th birthday.
“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 in a statement. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”
While presidential medical appointments always draw attention, Biden was the oldest person ever elected to the office at the age of 77 in 2020, leading to even more scrutiny of his health. His last medical assessment, released by his presidential campaign in December 2019, described him as “a healthy, vigorous, 77-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.”
Psaki said Friday’s exam will take place at Walter Reed National Medical Center near Washington and promised more information as the day progressed. She is scheduled to brief reporters at noon.
Biden’s 2019 report, signed by his longtime physician Kevin O’Connor, who is now the president’s official physician, listed an “irregularly irregular” heartbeat, high levels of fat in the blood, acid reflux and seasonal allergies. At the time, he took three prescriptions — Eliquis and Crestor for his heart and blood issues, and Dymista for allergies — and two over-the-counter drugs, Nexium for acid reflux and Allegra for allergies.
Since then, officials have reported only one major health issue for Biden, two foot fractures that took place a few weeks after he was elected. Biden has said the injuries happened while he was playing with his dog Major, who slid on a throw rug that Biden then slipped on. He suffered hairline fractures and briefly wore a medical boot on his foot. After an X-ray in early February, O’Connor said the president had “completely healed.”
In addition to providing care for active duty and veteran service members, Walter Reed also regularly serves as a treatment facility for presidents and members of Congress. Biden spent time there in 1988 as he suffered two brain aneurysms and underwent surgery to repair burst blood vessels. Trump spent three days at the hospital in October 2020 when he was battling Covid-19. –Bloomberg