Kamala Harris Becomes The First Woman to Ever Hold Presidential Power

Nitya Wanchoo

Vice President Kamala Harris made history once again on November 19, 2021 as she became the first woman to hold presidential power. For a very short period of time while President Joe Biden underwent a routine colonoscopy.

For 85 minutes on Friday, from 10:10 AM to 11:35 AM EST, 79-year-old President Biden -the oldest President to date- was sedated and put under anesthesia at Walter Reed Medical Center for a colonoscopy. As per the 25th amendment, which states that the President can transfer presidential power to the VP if they are ‘unable to serve,’ Biden chose to transfer his presidential power to Vice President Kamala Harris. He sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic party Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont right before going under anesthesia, signing off on the transfer of power. In doing so, history was made. Last week was the first time in the nation’s 250 years of history that a female, let alone one that is Black and South Asian, has been able to act as President. Even if for just a brief interval of time, this event should not be undermined. 

Although this particular colonoscopy was a momentous one, the procedure and its accompanying transfer of presidential power has occurred several times in the past with the exception of former President Donald Trump. Stehphanie Grisham, Trump’s White House press secretary, recently insinuated that Trump’s colonoscopy was purposely kept a secret and that he refused anesthesia so that he wouldn’t have to transfer power to former Vice President Michael Pence

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted about the success of the procedure once Joe Biden had resumed his presidential duties. “@POTUS was in good spirits and at that time resumed his duties,” she wrote. “He will remain at Walter Reed as he completes the rest of his routine physical.” Additionally, according to Psaki, Vice President Harris spent her time acting as temporary President in her usual office in the West Wing of the White House.