US vice president Kamala Harris will serve as acting president while President Joe Biden is under anaesthesia for a routine colonoscopy, the White House has said.
“As was the case when President George W Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007, and 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 anaesthesia,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”
Mr. Biden arrived at the Walter Reed Medical Centre on Friday for his annual physical, his first while serving as president. Ms. Psaki added that the White House will release a report on Mr. Biden’s health later on Friday. The physical was not initially on the public presidential schedule but was announced hours before Mr Biden left the White House at around 8.30am. He arrived at the hospital in Maryland at 8.51am.
Mr. Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, is the oldest person in US history to hold the office of president.
Ms. Harris, who is the first woman to serve as vice president, is also the first woman to wield presidential power.