UPDATE: Congress’s in-house physician said that there was no evidence that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suffered a seizure or stroke in his latest episode in which he froze up while answering questions from reporters.
Brian Monahan, attending physician for Congress, wrote in a letter to McConnell that was released on Tuesday, “My examination of you following your August 30, 2023 brief episode included several medical evaluations: brain MRI imaging, EEG study and consultations with several neurologists for a comprehensive neurology assessment. There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease. There are no changes recommended in treatment protocols as you continue your recovery from your March 2023 fall.”
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The Senate is returning from recess this week, with some reports of Republicans concerned about McConnell’s future as Republican party leader. Last week, while answering questions at an event in Kentucky, McConnell stared straight ahead for more than 30 seconds, before resuming. There was another episode in July, when he stopped in the middle of a sentence as he was speaking to reporters at a regularly scheduled press conference. Later, he returned to the press conference and told reporters, “I’m fine.”
McConnell suffered a fall in March that left him hospitalized for the treatment of a concussion.
On the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, McConnell said, “One particular moment of my time back home has received its fair share of attention in the press over the past week. But I assure you August was a busy and productive month for me and my staff back in the Commonwealth.”
PREVIOUSLY: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze up again while he was answering questions from reporters at an event in Kentucky.
McConnell was asked about whether he planned to run for re-election in 2026. He started to answer but then stopped. An aide then stepped in to see if he had heard the question, but he continued to stare ahead. The aide then said, “I’m sorry you all. We’re going to need a minute.” McConnell paused for another 30 seconds before resuming.
NEW: @ScrippsNews Cincinnati was at the gaggle with Senate Minority Leader McConnell in Covington KY this afternoon, where the Minority Leader appeared to freeze on cam, similar to what happened in the Senate last month.
WATCH FULL VIDEO: pic.twitter.com/hnUHtjiilI
— Nathaniel Reed (@ReedReports) August 30, 2023
McConnell’s office later said in a statement to reporters that he felt lightheaded and paused during the event. They said that he would consult a physician before his next event.
Last month, at an incident at the Capitol, McConnell stopped in the middle of a sentence as he was speaking to reporters at a regularly scheduled press conference. Later, he returned to the press conference and told reporters, “I’m fine.”
The 81-year-old senator suffered a fall earlier this year. He returned to the Capitol in April, after about a month of rehabilitation that included a hospital stay for treatment of a concussion. News outlets also reported that McConnell tripped and fell at Reagan National Airport last month.
The incidents have raised speculation as to whether McConnell, in freezing up, was experiencing the after-effects of the concussion.
McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984. He served as minority leader from 2007 to 2015, and majority leader from 2015 to 2021. He returned to his position as minority leader when Democrats regained control of the chamber.
At the White House, President Joe Biden called McConnell “a good friend” and said he would try to get in touch with him later in the afternoon. He said that he just had heard about the incident.
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