Capitol Doctor Says Sen. McConnell ‘Medically Clear’ 1 Day After Freeze-Up

Capitol Doctor Says Sen. McConnell ‘Medically Clear’ 1 Day After Freeze-Up
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appears to freeze up for more than 30 seconds during a public appearance after an event with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in Covington, Ky., on Aug. 30, 2023, in a still from video. (WCPO via AP)

One day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) froze in front of reporters, Congressional Attending Physician Dr. Brian Monahan said that the senator is cleared to continue on his current schedule.

Dr. Monahan released his evaluation on Aug. 31, the day after Mr. McConnell had his second on-camera episode, where he was unresponsive to questions from reporters for about 30 seconds. This came five weeks after another freeze-up incident and several months after the senator was treated in March after a fall that resulted in a concussion.

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

Regarding the incidents, the doctor explained that “Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration.”

During a Wednesday gathering in Covington, Kentucky, a reporter asked Mr. McConnell what he thought about running for reelection in 2026.

A video of the incident shows the Senate Republican leader asking the reporter to repeat the question twice before responding with “That’s a …” and pausing while staring ahead for approximately 30 seconds.

An aide approached the senator and inquired, “Did you hear the question, senator, about running for reelection in 2026?”

Mr. McConnell responded with an unintelligible phrase. His staff attributed the incident to light-headedness.

Wednesday’s incident occurred just over a month after Mr. McConnell suddenly stopped speaking while taking questions from reporters during his weekly press conference in the Capitol. During that incident, he remained silent for approximately 20 seconds before being escorted out of the press conference.

Mr. McConnell, a childhood polio survivor, had a concussion and broke his ribs after falling at an event in March. He was hospitalized and, following therapy, returned to the Senate the following month.

Later on Wednesday, the minority leader was photographed at an event with Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who is running for Senate in Indiana.

President Joe Biden said on Aug. 31 that he is not worried about Mr. McConnell’s capacity to serve.

“I spoke to him today. He was his old self on the telephone,” the president told reporters at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters.

When asked if he had doubts about Mr. McConnell’s leadership abilities,  he responded, “No, I don’t.”

President Biden, who will turn 81 in November, has worked with Mr. McConnell, also 81, for decades, beginning with their tenure in the Senate.

The two freeze-ups have stirred questions about Mr. McConnell’s leadership. The Kentucky Republican has served as the GOP leader for 16 years, making him the longest-serving Senate leader in history.

The editorial board at conservative media outlet The National Review came out on Aug. 31 urging the minority leader to set aside.

“[T]he time has come for the Kentucky senator, after his long, impressive run, to make the decision to step aside from leadership,” the article stated.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has been the only member of Congress to publicly question Mr. McConnel’s fitness for office.

“Severe aging health issues and/or mental health incompetence in our nation’s leaders MUST be addressed,” Ms. Greene posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday.

“Biden, McConnell, Feinstein, and Fetterman are examples of people who are not fit for office and it’s time to be serious about it.”

From The Epoch Times

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