Covington, KY – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze for over 30 seconds during a gaggle with reporters in Covington, Kentucky on Wednesday, sparking new concerns about the 81-year-old senator’s health.
This marks the second instance in recent months that McConnell has been seemingly unable to respond during a press conference. In July, he paused for 19 seconds at a news conference on Capitol Hill before being escorted away, only to return shortly and assure reporters that he was “fine.”
Aide Steps In
Video footage from Wednesday’s event shows the Republican leader trailing off and staring ahead when a reporter asked him whether he would run for reelection in 2026. When McConnell did not respond, an aide approached him, asking, “Did you hear the question, senator?” McConnell remained unresponsive until finally re-engaging to address a different question regarding Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
BREAKING: Republican Senator Mitch McConnell appears to have another medical emergency when he froze for nearly 30 seconds while speaking to reporters.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) August 30, 2023
I speak for most Americans when I say it’s time for McConnell to resign.
Just last month, McConnell had a separate freezing… pic.twitter.com/ltz9Poj1wV
The aide later informed the room, “Alright, I am sorry you all. We are going to need a minute.”
A spokesperson for McConnell told reporters that the senator felt “momentarily lightheaded” and will consult a doctor before his next event as “a prudential measure.”
Past Health Issues
Mitch McConnell was hospitalized earlier this year after a fall in a Washington hotel led to a concussion and a fractured rib. After a five-day hospital stay and subsequent inpatient rehabilitation, he returned to the Senate, telling reporters it was “good to be back.”
Given McConnell’s age and previous health scares, the recurring episodes of unresponsiveness are drawing increased scrutiny and concern, both within and outside his party.
Historic Tenure, Future Uncertain
Mitch McConnell recently became the longest-serving Senate party leader in history. However, these recent incidents have raised questions about his future in politics, particularly as the Senate is poised to reconvene on September 5th after its August recess.
Neither McConnell nor his aides have further elaborated on the incident, leaving many to speculate about what these pauses could mean for his career and for the Republican Party as a whole.