When President Joe Biden underwent a routine colonoscopy Friday, he was put under anesthesia and his vice president was temporarily transferred his full presidential power. That is all standard procedure, but what made Friday’s events unique was that the Vice President Kamala Harris briefly became the first female to assume the duties of the president of the United States.
Political observers cheered the milestone online — especially because the procedural transfer took place on International Men’s Day.
“Well I’m gonna find some opportunities to tweet ‘Acting President Harris’ several times to day,” cheered Sherrilyn Ifill, president and diretor-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Journalist Aditi Tyagi tweeted, “That’s history being made in USA!!”
Did someone say "Acting President Harris"? pic.twitter.com/SOcovYXFRF
— Queen Thicktoria, Esq. (Paid Advertisement) (@VeeCeeMurphy76) November 19, 2021
Others imagined how effective Harris could be with the full powers of the presidency behind her. (The White House issued a statement saying she planned to work in her office during the time she was acting president.)
BREAKING: Acting President Harris reached a deal with Manchin and Sinema and will sign Build Back Better into law. pic.twitter.com/KhA7oWtKui
— Adam Smith (@AdamJSmithGA) November 19, 2021
Notably, she was acting president when the Build Back Better Act passed the House.
There were plenty of historians and reporters on hand to point out that thanks to the 25th Amendment, this sort of temporary transfer happens with some regularity and also remind readers that Harris was not really president during the period.
Harris will become acting president for a couple hours under the 25th Amendment while Biden undergoes a colonoscopy, just as Reagan handed power briefly to Bush 41 and Bush 43 did to Cheney (twice) during similar medical circumstances.
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) November 19, 2021
The 25th Amendment is fast becoming the "colonoscopy" amendment, in the sense that this will now be the third time someone has been made "acting president" in that context. https://t.co/HyP94UJwm5
— J.J. McCullough (@JJ_McCullough) November 19, 2021
Still, as plenty noted, history was made.
Kamala Harris is acting president today.
— THEE Glory (@CDonatac) November 19, 2021