Mark this date on your calendars: Nov. 19, 2021, is the day the United States will have its first Black woman President—if only for a few hours.
CNN reports that President Joe Biden is scheduled for a routine colonoscopy, a procedure that requires him to be unconscious and under anesthesia. The Constitution lays out that the country shouldn’t be without someone at the controls if the sitting president is temporarily incapacitated, which means Harris — the first woman and the first person with Black or Asian lineage to hold the vice presidency — will take the wheel for awhile.
Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution says the President can send a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate declaring declaring they are “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”
Oh and here’s another detail from the CNN story that’ll surprise absolutely no one:
Earlier this year, former President Donald Trump’s ex-press secretary Stephanie Grisham heavily implied that Biden’s predecessor underwent a colonoscopy in a secret visit to Walter Reed in 2019, but kept it quiet to avoid transferring presidential power to then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Biden’s procedure is reportedly part of his first presidential physical, and it brings the temporary transfer of power at an interesting time for his presidency. Biden’s approval ratings are at a low point despite the fact that he finally got his massive infrastructure bill passed and that the House also passed his “Build Back Better” package of social and climate programs. Last week, CNN reported on tensions between Harris’ office and the White House, which Harris refuted in a Good Morning America interview on Thursday.
Good luck, Madame President.