Biden gets clean bill of health after Kamala’s 85 minutes of presidency

WASHINGTON: It lasted just 85 minutes, but the history-making hour-and-half in America is unlikely to turn into an extended term. White House physician Dr Kevin O’Conner gave a clean bill of health to US President Joe Biden on Friday after a detailed physical examination, including a colonoscopy procedure that required anesthesia, due to which the President briefly ceded power, as constitutionally mandated, to vice-president Kamala Harris.
“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 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, examination 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 he said 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,” Dr O’Connor 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, and the liberal constituency rejoiced at the first woman in US history to momentarily serve as commander-in-chief.
“I recognize it was only about an hour and a half, but I still think it’s something to celebrate that a woman of color was in this position in 2021. That said, I want to see a woman president,” one liberal commentator noted.
The right-wing commentariat on the other hand went into paroxyms of rage. “Kamala was POTUS for 85 mins today which is terrifying. If we were to lose Sleepy Joe we would be left with Kacklin Kamala. Hard to know which is worse!” a Fox News commentator fumed.
Harris, whose mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris hailed from Tamil Nadu and lived in Delhi and Kolkota before coming to the America as a student, and whose father is Jamaican, is already the only woman — and of Indian and Black heritage at that – to come the US vice-president.
In her first speech as vice president-elect last year, she told young girls to “dream with ambition” after telling her cheering supporters, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
The possibility that Harris could become the US President – either through constitutional succession in the event of the President’s incapacitation, or winning a nomination and election after a full Biden term — has intrigued and transfixed America. The first possibility came to pass sooner than some had anticipated when Biden had to go under anesthesia for a medical procedure.
Section 3 of the 25th Amendment states that the president must provide a written declaration to the president pro tempore of the Senate and speaker of the House that he is 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.”
For now though, Kamala’s stint holding the White House reins lasted just 85 minutes – from 10.10 a.m to 11.35 a.m on Friday.

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