Sen. McConnell ‘medically cleared’ to continue schedule after he froze during NKY event

The senator had a similar episode in late July when holding a press conference in Washington, D.C.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 3:28 PM EDT
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COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX/AP) - Senator Mitch McConnell is “medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned,” says the attending physician for Congress.

Sen. McConnell appeared to freeze and had to be prompted to respond to a reporter at a question-and-answer session following an event Wednesday in Covington, Kentucky.

Dr. Brian Monahan says he conferred with McConnell’s neurology team and, “After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned.”

“Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” Dr. Monahan said in a statement.

McConnell, 81, was out of the Senate for almost six weeks earlier this year when he suffered a concussion after falling and hitting his head following a dinner event at a hotel.

At Wednesday’s event, a reporter asked McConnell about his re-election campaign. He didn’t respond and seemed to stare off into space.

The senator had to be prompted by a person who came up on the stage to tell him what the question was.

McConnell also seemed to freeze when asked about the governor’s race in Kentucky and had to be prompted again about the question.

A spokesperson says McConnell “felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today.”

The senator had a similar episode in late July when holding a press conference in Washington, D.C.

McConnell approached the podium and began speaking about the annual defense bill on the floor but he then appeared to lose his train of thought, trailing off with a drawn-out “uh.”

The senator then appeared to freeze up and stared vacantly for around 20 seconds before his colleagues in Republican leadership, who were standing behind him and could not see his face, grabbed his elbows and asked if he wanted to go back to his office.

He did not answer, but slowly walked back to his office with an aide and Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a former orthopedic surgeon who is the No. 3 Republican in the Senate.

After sitting down in his office for several minutes, McConnell later returned to the press conference and answered questions from the press.

When he returned to answer questions, McConnell said he was “fine.” Asked if he is still able to do his job, he said, “Yeah.”

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