Thursday, April 18, 2024
McConnell's freeze alarms colleagues during news conference.

McConnell’s freeze alarms colleagues during news conference.

During his opening remarks at the weekly Senate Republican press conference on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell froze and was seemingly unable to speak. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is also a physician, approached McConnell and spoke quietly with him before they walked away from the podium. McConnell eventually returned to handle questions, but his colleagues expressed concern. A McConnell aide later stated that he felt lightheaded and needed a moment away.

McConnell, 81, was discussing the Senate’s progress on the National Defense Authorization Act when he stopped speaking. Barrasso asked if he was okay and offered to help him back to his office, while Sen. John Thune took over the press conference in the meantime.

When McConnell returned, reporters asked what had happened and if it was related to his previous injury earlier this year when he suffered a concussion from a fall. McConnell reassured them that he was fine and fully able to do his job.

Later that evening, McConnell disclosed that he received a call from President Biden, who had tripped over a sandbag while on stage at a commencement ceremony. McConnell joked that he had also been “sandbagged.” When asked about his condition, McConnell reiterated that he was fine.

Sen. Barrasso went back to McConnell’s office to check on him and reported that McConnell seemed fine since he returned and took questions. Barrasso emphasized that he was not McConnell’s doctor but believed that McConnell was doing a great job leading the conference.

Despite the incident, McConnell’s fellow Senate Republicans expressed support for him to remain as GOP leader. McConnell, a polio survivor, has served in the Senate since 1985.


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