For exactly one hour, America was governed by its first woman president, Kamala Harris. President Harris took over — and hopefully snapped a picture of herself at the Resolute Desk — for a bit on Friday because temporarily unconscious President Joe Biden underwent a colonoscopy requiring brief anesthesia. The White House says she’ll work from her own West Wing Office, but if you’re the president, can they really tell you what to do?
Harris is taking the reins at a turbulent time, when Congress is fighting over spending to expand social programs, Kevin McCarthy probably has laryngitis, and House Republicans are defending a colleague who posted a cartoon of himself murdering AOC.
Brief loss of consciousness is a pretty common thing among our aging executives. Dick Cheney was likely given access to the nuclear codes in both 2002 and 2007, when George W. Bush used anesthesia for his colonoscopies.
Not all people will yield power so easily. According to the memoir of former White House staffer Stephanie Grisham, Narcissist-in-Chief Donald Trump refused anesthesia for a colonoscopy because he didn’t want to be “the butt of the joke” on television. In November 2019, Trump took an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed National Medical Center, and news media speculated a heart attack or a stroke, especially after Trump left not wearing a tie.
The news that Harris is briefly our first black woman president comes just a day after a long-ass article in CNN about how unhappy her team is with the role of vice president. Every new vice president seems to think they’ll get to reinvent the job! Instead everyone eventually realizes it’s kinda a shitty job that’s only important when it’s important, like when a man is getting a colonoscopy. This hour-or-so window will be a perfect opening shot for her 2024 presidential announcement video.
Until Biden comes back to us, all hail the first lady president of the United States. Glass ceiling cracked.