Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze for about 30 seconds on Wednesday while speaking with reporters after a speech in Covington, Kentucky.
The incident is similar to an episode McConnell experienced at the US Capitol late last month and is likely to raise additional questions about the fitness of the 81-year-old to lead the Senate Republican caucus.
Wednesday’s episode occurred when a reporter asked the Republican leader if he was planning to run for reelection in 2026. McConnell had to ask him to repeat the question several times, chuckled for a moment, and then paused, closing his mouth and staring straight ahead.
Someone at his side then asked him, “Did you hear the question, senator, running for reelection in 2026?” McConnell did not respond.
“I’m sorry you all, we’re gonna need a minute,” the aide told reporters. A member of the senator’s detail spoke quietly to him for a moment, and McConnell was able to whisper an answer to him.
McConnell turned back to reporters, said, “OK,” and his aide asked if anyone had another question, and if reporters could “speak up.”
McConnell “feels fine,” but will consult a doctor before his next event as “a prudential measure,” an aide said.
McConnell spoke for about 20 minutes on Wednesday before the question-and-answer session with reporters.
Asked by NBC News about McConnell’s apparent freeze Wednesday, President Joe Biden said he’d just heard about it and that he’d “try to get in touch with him later this afternoon.”
“Mitch is a friend, as you know — not a joke. … I know people don’t believe that the case but we have disagreements politically, but he’s a good friend,” Biden said.
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