US Vice President Kamala Harris is set to become the first woman to receive presidential powers as President Joe Biden on Friday undergoes a routine colonoscopy as part of his first physical since assuming office. Biden will travel to the Walter Reed Medical Center, a US military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, for the procedure that would require him to be placed under anesthesia, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. 

Former Vice President Dick Cheney assumed charge briefly when then-President George W Bush underwent routine colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007.

Joe Biden to undergo colonoscopy, power to be transferred to VP Kamala Harris

Earlier this year, Donald Trump‘s ex-press secretary Stephanie Grisham implied that Biden’s predecessor, too, underwent a colonoscopy at Walter Reed in 2019, but kept the procedure a secret to avoid transferring presidential power to then-Vice President Mike Pence.

Harris will work from her office in the West Wing during Biden’s colonoscopy. “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 anesthesia,” Psaki said.

What is colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy, as per Cleveland clinic, is done with a flexible camera, called a scope, to check out “symptoms like bleeding, as well as look for polyps and possible signs of colon cancer.”

Harris, 57, created a string of firsts in US history, when she assumed office as the 49th vice president of the United States in January 2021. Besides being the first woman vice president, she is also the first African- American and first Asian-American to be elected to the post. She also holds the distinction of being the highest-ranking female official in the country’s history. 

What is the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution?

Biden, 78, is the oldest US president in history. Even though critics, most notably former President Donald Trump, have often raked up Biden’s age to question his ability to hold the high-pressure job, doctors declared Biden “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency” when he underwent his last full exam in December 2019.