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McConnell freezes again; office says he was 'lightheaded'

Jul 04, 2023


The Senate minority leader froze for nearly 30 seconds during a press conference in Kentucky on Wednesday, the second time in as many months that he’s frozen in public.

By Kierra Frazier and Burgess Everett

08/30/2023 01:38 PM EDT

Updated:08/30/2023 02:25 PM EDT

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell froze for nearly 30 seconds during a press conference Wednesday, an episode his office attributed to him being “momentarily lightheaded.”

The Senate minority leader, speaking in Kentucky, froze while answering questions from reporters. Aides stepped in to help McConnell out and repeat questions. Before McConnell froze, he was asked about whether he planned to run for reelection in 2026.

“Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today,” a spokesperson for his office said.

An aide added that McConnell planned to consult a physician before any more events.

Wednesday’s episode was McConnell’s second freeze while talking to reporters in public. In July, McConnell abruptly stopped his opening remarks at an afternoon press conference at the Capitol, causing alarm when he left for a few minutes and then returned to answer questions.

His first freeze jolted the Senate GOP. Republican lawmakers like Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stated in July that they weren’t concerned about McConnell’s health.

After the July incident, McConnell quashed speculation about whether he would finish out this Congress as GOP leader. A spokesperson for the Senate minority leader said in a statement to POLITICO at the time that “Leader McConnell appreciates the continued support of his colleagues, and plans to serve his full term in the job they overwhelmingly elected him to do.”

McConnell is the longest-serving Senate party leader of all time, and his term in office ends in 2026. There have been no public demands from GOP senators to reassess their leadership.

The freezes haven’t been his only public health concerns. McConnell, 81, suffered a concussion in March following a fall and returned to his duties in April. He has since gone about his job as usual, though he has occasionally struggled to hear reporters’ questions at weekly press availabilities.

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