Washington: Vice President Kamala Harris held presidential powers for a total of one hour and 25 minutes while President Joe Biden was under anesthetic, the White House said. The White House press office said that official letters to Congress declaring the temporary transfer of power were sent at 10:10 am (1510 GMT). "The president resumed his duties at 11:35 am," (1635 GMT), the White House said in a statement.
Meanwhile, White House physician Dr Kevin O’Conner gave a clean bill of health to Biden after a detailed physical examination, including a colonoscopy procedure that required anaesthesia. President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency,” O’Connor wrote in a six-page summary of the visit, in which he noted only two mildly discordant notes: the increasing frequency and severity of Biden’s “throat clearing” during speeches, and his worsening gait, both of which he said merited a more detailed investigation.
The throat clearing, O’Connor noted, came from occasional symptoms of “gastroesophageal reflux” the president experienced, and although the episodes have been more frequent and more pronounced, the medical exam found no signs of tumors or polyps and his vocal cords looked and worked normally. Biden’s stiffened gait, he suggested, could be a result of degenerative “wear and tear” on his spine, aggravated by a foot fracture that occurred last year when he was playing with his dog.
But overall the exam showed the president’s health to be “fundamentally unchanged” from where it’s been previously, the doctor said. “An extremely detailed neurologic exam was reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis,” he wrote.
The open and transparent medical results, which is customary for the US presidents, came even as right-wing conspiracy theorists worked themselves into a frenzy over Biden briefly ceding power to vice-president Kamala Harris, making her the first woman in US history to serve as commander-in-chief.