Since July, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has suffered twice from what appear to be moments of freezing while speaking during press briefings. As we wrote, the most recent, scary health episode happened Wednesday, as McConnell was addressing the media:
In the video, McConnell is seen staring blankly after being asked a question about running for re-election in 2026. Eventually, what I assume is a staffer walked up and acted as if he just didn’t hear the question, but after shouting it in his ear, he still didn’t respond. After about 30 seconds of nothing, the clip ends with the same staffer asking reporters to “please speak up.”
It’s an extremely uncomfortable visual, and one that is not easily explained away by claims of dehydration, though that again is what his office blamed for the incident.
Here’s the video Bonchie included in his piece:
BREAKING NEWS: Sen. Mitch McConnell appearing to have another scary episode in the media gaggle in Covington today. Aides had to step in to help him out and repeat questions. He was eventually lead away. We’ll have the full video on @WLWT pic.twitter.com/q9ex5MHxLV
— Hannah Thomas (@HannahPThomas) August 30, 2023
Now, in a statement from McConnell’s office, the U.S. Capitol attending physician, Brian Monahan has shed some light on what might be causing this:
One day after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze up at a public event, Brian Monahan, the attending physician for the U.S. Capitol, said that he told McConnell “he is medically clear” to continue to work.
Monahan said in a statement that he had “consulted” with McConnell, 81, and “conferred” with the Kentucky Republican’s neurology team and determined that “he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned.”
Monahan continued, saying the freezing episodes could be related to recovery from a concussion after falling in March, adding that it could also have been caused by dehydration.
As we wrote at the time, Sen. McConnell suffered a fall at an event in Washington, D.C. A statement from McConnell’s Communications Director, David Popp, read:
Leader McConnell tripped at a dinner event Wednesday evening and has been admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a concussion. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days of observation and treatment. The Leader is grateful to the medical professionals for their care and to his colleagues for their warm wishes.
But NBC News’ piece notes that McConnell suffered a second fall in July:
NBC News reported that on July 14, McConnell, a polio survivor who has struggled to navigate stairs and other obstacles, fell disembarking from a plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. He was not seriously hurt.
On Thursday, during an interview with Fox News, 2024 GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley remarked on McConnell’s health:
It’s sad. No one should feel good about seeing that any more than we should feel good about seeing Dianne Feinstein, any more than we should feel good about a lot of what’s happening or seeing Joe Biden’s decline. What I will say is, right now the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country. I mean, Mitch McConnell has done some great things and he deserves credit. But you have to know when to leave.
As always, we’ll keep you posted as this story develops.
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