McConnell Briefly Leaves Press Conference
Mitch McConnell briefly leaves press conference after pausing mid-sentence, raising concerns about his health. Colleagues express support.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell briefly left his own press conference on Wednesday after stopping his remarks midsentence and appearing to stare off into space for several seconds.
McConnell approached the podium for his weekly press conference and began speaking about the annual defense bill on the floor, emphasizing the "good bipartisan cooperation" involved. However, he seemed to lose his train of thought, trailing off with a drawn-out "uh."
He then appeared to freeze up, staring vacantly for approximately 20 seconds. His colleagues in Republican leadership, who were standing behind him and couldn't see his face, gradually became aware of the issue. Concerned, they gently grabbed McConnell's elbows and offered assistance by asking if he wanted to be taken to his office.
Although he did not answer, McConnell slowly walked back to his office with an aide and Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a former orthopedic surgeon and the No. 3 Republican in the Senate. After a brief moment, McConnell returned to the press conference and engaged with reporters.
When asked about the incident, McConnell simply stated that he was "fine," without providing further details.
An aide from McConnell's office later mentioned that he had felt lightheaded and needed a moment to regather himself. The aide requested anonymity to discuss the senator's health.
It is worth noting that McConnell was absent from the Senate for nearly six weeks earlier this year due to a fall that caused a concussion and a fractured rib. Recently, some of his colleagues have noticed a more halting speech pattern, raising questions about his overall health.
Following the press conference, Senator Barrasso expressed his desire to ensure that everything was alright. He walked alongside McConnell down the hall, emphasizing that he had been concerned since McConnell's previous injury but acknowledged his remarkable recovery. Barrasso reiterated his belief that McConnell is doing a great job leading their conference.