SALT LAKE CITY — Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox gleefully measured the drapes in Gov. Gary Herbert's office and then sat behind his desk with his feet up, but the deputy governor was only in charge for a few hours on Friday.
The playful tweets were posted to the governor's account ahead of Herbert's successful surgery to remove kidney stones Friday evening.
The handoff lasted just over two hours before Herbert was out of surgery and no longer under anesthesia, as stipulated by the governor's proclamation detailing the transfer of power.
"The peaceful transfer of power has occurred. All is right with the world," Cox tweeted Friday about 7:30 p.m.
Herbert's office said in a statement the procedure went well Friday night and that "the prognosis is for a full and uneventful recovery."
Cox earlier tweeted that he was praying for the governor and that he took his short-term responsibility "very seriously," but it didn't take long for him to change his Twitter biography to "GOVERNOR" and start cracking jokes on social media.
During his brief stint as Utah's chief executive, Cox wished his wife, Abby, a happy birthday, with a declaration saying she will always be "the first lady of my heart." He plugged his town of Fairview, playfully nominated Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles as his own lieutenant governor and launched a campaign to #MakeUtahRectangularAgain by wresting its missing northeastern corner from Wyoming.
Herbert approved such silliness before going under, Cox said.5 comments on this story
On Wednesday, Herbert delivered his annual State of the State address despite being diagnosed with two kidney stones on Tuesday by a specialist at LDS Hospital who saw him for unexplained abdominal pain.
His staff said he had no interest in postponing the speech.
Although the governor "has been experiencing pain, he remains in good spirits and has maintained a full schedule," his deputy chief of staff, Paul Edwards, said in a statement Wednesday.
On Thursday and Friday, Herbert continued to hold meetings, including with his cabinet, before leaving the Capitol Friday afternoon to prepare for his surgery.