Mitch McConnell Freezes Again While Speaking To Reporters In Kentucky
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell freezes again while speaking to reporters in Kentucky at an event on Wednesday. This incident follows a similar occurrence about a month ago when McConnell halted his speech mid-sentence during a press conference.
The recent event unfolded when McConnell, aged 81, was questioned about the possibility of running for re-election in 2026 at a gathering in Covington, Kentucky. The prominent Republican leader acknowledged the query but soon trailed off and ceased speaking.
After approximately 10 seconds, an aide intervened and inquired if he had heard the question. McConnell responded with a simple "yes," yet continued to gaze into the distance. The aide then stated, "we're going to need a minute."
Seeking assistance from what appeared to be a member of McConnell's security team, the aide worked to manage the situation. After around 30 seconds of silence, McConnell appeared to regain his composure, clearing his throat and finally uttering, "OK." He managed to address a couple more inquiries from reporters, with his aide conveying the topics to him. Subsequently, he departed from the gathering.
According to McConnell's spokesperson, the senator experienced a brief sensation of lightheadedness that led to the momentary pause during the press conference. While feeling generally well, McConnell's team shared that, as a precautionary measure, he will consult a physician before his next scheduled event.
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President Biden, commenting on the incident after discussing the federal response to Hurricane Idalia and the Maui wildfires, referred to McConnell as a "good friend." Biden expressed his intent to reach out to McConnell.
Later on that day, McConnell joined an event in Louisville alongside Republican Rep. Jim Banks, who is vying for a Senate seat in Indiana. Banks took to the platform of X, formerly known as Twitter, to share a photo and recount a comprehensive conversation with Leader McConnell regarding the nation's future. Banks eagerly anticipated collaborating with McConnell on matters relevant to their adjacent states.
The initial incident of McConnell experiencing a freeze transpired during a press conference held at the U.S. Capitol on July 26. While delivering his opening statements, McConnell suddenly ceased speaking mid-sentence and seemed to be unable to proceed with his remarks for an approximate duration of 15 seconds.
Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican senator representing Wyoming and also a physician, approached McConnell to offer assistance and ascertain his well-being. Barrasso then accompanied McConnell away from the podium. After a brief interval, McConnell returned to address inquiries from reporters, assuring them that he was "fine." A later statement from a McConnell aide explained that he had "felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment" during the incident.
The occurrence in July prompted a significant wave of concern among McConnell's fellow senators and even garnered attention from President Biden, who reached out to check on the senator's well-being. McConnell humorously remarked to the president that he had been "sandbagged," alluding to an incident where Mr. Biden had stumbled over a sandbag during the U.S. Air Force Academy's commencement ceremony earlier that summer.
Following the incident in July, Republicans continued to offer unwavering support for McConnell. A spokesperson conveyed to CBS News that McConnell remains steadfast in his commitment to fulfill the entirety of the role for which he was resoundingly elected.
These episodes of freezing follow McConnell's prior mishap in March, when he stumbled at a Washington hotel during a dinner event, resulting in a concussion. This incident led to his hospitalization for several days and subsequent treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. After a recovery period of over a month, McConnell made his return to the Senate.
Mitch is a friend, as you know - not a joke, I know people don’t believe that’s the case. We have disagreements politically but he’s a good friend and so I’m going to try and get in touch with him later this afternoon. I don’t know enough to know.- Biden, while speaking to Hurricane Idalia and the wildfires in Maui
Having held the position of top Senate Republican since 2007, McConnell's longevity and influence were further highlighted as he became the longest-serving Senate leader in history with the start of the new Congress in January. In a display of his political acumen, he successfully navigated and thwarted a leadership challenge from Florida Senator Rick Scott in November, marking the first time such a challenge had been posed during his tenure as party leader.