Kamala Harris became US first female President for 85 minutes

Kamala Harris officially makes history!

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a meeting on voting rights at the TCF Center in Detroit, Monday, July 12, 2021.

On Friday, November 19 President Joe Biden of USA transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris for a historic one hour and 25 minutes while he was being sedated for a colonoscopy as part of a regular health check.

However briefly, Harris became the first woman to hold presidential power in the United States. She is already the first female vice president.

The White House press office said that official letters to Congress declaring the temporary transfer of power were sent at 6:10 pm (1510 GMT). "The president resumed his duties at 7:35 pm," (1635 GMT)," the White House said in a statement.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that Biden had spoken with Harris and his chief of staff and "was in good spirits." He remained at the presidential facility at Walter Reed hospital to complete "the rest of his routine physical."

The oldest person to hold the presidency in US history, Biden went in for his medical check-up on the eve of his 79th birthday.

The White House described the appointment as a "routine annual physical." It was Biden's first since taking office in January.

Despite the administration's stressing that there was nothing unusual in the hospital visit, Biden's departure by motorcade from the White House early Friday was announced at the last minute.

His public schedule, issued the previous night, listed only the traditional ceremony to "pardon" a turkey ahead of Thanksgiving and departure for a weekend at home in Delaware.

Because Biden was being anesthetized during the colonoscopy, he had to hand over power under the constitution, putting Harris, 57, temporarily in charge of the US armed forces and nuclear weapons arsenal.

Harris made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Party nomination in 2020, before being picked as Biden's running mate. While holding the temporary presidential reins she continued to "work from her office in the West Wing," Psaki said.

Psaki noted that a similar temporary transfer of power, "following the process set out in the Constitution," had been carried out when president George W. Bush underwent the same procedure in 2002 and 2007.

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