Kamala Harris Becomes First Woman To Hold US Presidential Power: Why She Stepped In For 85 Minutes

Kamala Harris
VP Kamala Harris (File Image)

US President Joe Biden on Friday temporarily transferred power to his deputy Kamala Harris while he was under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy for one hour and 25 minutes, according to the White House.

The US’ first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president Harris broke another barrier as she became the first woman to hold presidential powers in the country.

“In view of present circumstances, I have determined to transfer temporarily the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States to the Vice President during the brief period of the procedure and recovery,” Biden said in letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy ahead of the procedure.

As House speaker, Pelosi is second in line to the presidency after the vice president. Leahy, as Senate president pro tempore, is third.

When presidential power was transferred to Harris, her codes were temporarily activated, giving her presidential authority to launch nuclear weapons.

Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution allows the president to temporarily transfer power if he or she is unable to fulfill his or her duties.

Harris worked from her office in the West Wing while Biden was under anaesthesia, according to the White House.

In the US, it is usual for a vice president to assume presidential powers whenever the president requires anaesthesia. Presidential power has been transferred to the vice president before, when President George W. Bush had colonoscopies.

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