United States Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman in the country’s history to hold presidential powers, although it was for a short duration. Harris is the first woman, first African-American and first Asian-American to hold the post of Vice President in the US.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shared the news of the transfer of power from US President Joe Biden to Harris in a briefing. She further added that two set of letters were released publicly, around — one was at 10:10 am, the second one at 11:35 am — about the transfer of power under the 25th Amendment, and then the resumption of power.
What had happened?
Kamala Harris held presidential powers for one hour and twenty-five minutes, before it was transferred back to Biden. But what had led to these events? The briefing revealed that Biden had undergone a routine colonoscopy on November 19, for which he was put under anaesthesia.
Biden himself had shared a letter in which he had shared that he would undergo a routine medical procedure requiring sedation, due to which he would temporarily transfer the powers and duties of the President of the US to the country’s Vice President.
The letter was addressed to US Senator Patrick Leahy, who is the current President pro tempore of the US Senate- which makes him the second-highest-ranking official of the country’s senate.
This wasn’t the first time, however, that a US President had temporarily transferred power to the next in line. As Psaki revealed in her briefing before the procedure was carried out, 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.” She further revealed that Harris was set to work from her office in the West Wing during the said duration.