(CNN) – White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that US President Joe Biden will temporarily transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris while she is drugged for a routine colon exam.
“Vice President Kamala Harris will be working from her office in the West Wing during this time,” Psaki said in a statement.
Biden arrived at Walter Reed Medical Center Friday morning for a routine annual physical exam, his first in office as the oldest president in his first term in US history.
It is a routine process for the vice president to assume presidential powers while the president undergoes a medical procedure that requires anaesthesia. Vice President Dick Cheney did this several times when then-President George W. Bush underwent a routine colonoscopy.
Earlier this year, former President Donald Trump’s former press secretary Stephanie Grisham strongly hinted that Biden’s predecessor underwent a colonoscopy on a secret visit to Walter Reed in 2019, but kept quiet to avoid transferring presidential power to the then-Vice President Mike Pence.
In his book I’ll Take Your Questions Now, Grisham does not use the term colonoscopy, but he strongly hints that this is the purpose of the trip. She said Trump’s visit to the hospital, which has fueled weeks of speculation about his health, was a “very common procedure”, during which a patient is “sedated”.
He also wrote that Bush had taken a similar measure while in office. Grisham wrote that Trump did not want then-Vice President Mike Pence to be in power while he was drugged, which was part of the reason for keeping his visit secret. Grisham wrote that he didn’t “want to be a joke” on the late-night talk shows.