McConnell appears to freeze again during news conference

A McConnell spokesperson told ABC the senator "felt momentarily lightheaded."

August 30, 2023, 5:08 PM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday appeared to freeze again during a news conference in his home state of Kentucky.

Video showed the Republican senator speaking in Covington when he was asked by reporter about whether he will run for reelection in 2026. McConnell trailed off and was seen staring ahead for more than 30 seconds before an aide stepped in to ask if he'd heard the question.

The aide then turns to the room and says," Alright, I am sorry you all. We are going to need a minute."

A spokesperson for McConnell told ABC News, "Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today."

An aide for the senator said while McConnell feels fine, he will be consulting a physician out of caution before his next event.

After the episode, McConnell called top Senate Republicans, including Sen. John Thune. An aide to Thune told ABC News that McConnell "sounded like his usual self and was in good spirits."

Mitch McConnell appears to freeze again while speaking in Covington, Ky., on Aug. 30, 2023.

McConnell, 81, sparked concern in late July when he was escorted away from the podium on Capitol Hill after he stopped speaking mid-sentence. After 20 seconds, he was helped away from the press conference by two of his colleagues.

The senator reappeared at the microphone minutes later to continue answering questions. Asked about the episode, he told reporters he was "fine."

President Joe Biden called to check on McConnell after the incident last month. McConnell said he joked with the president that he "got sandbagged" -- a reference to Biden's fall during the Air Force graduation ceremony.

On Wednesday, while giving remarks on Hurricane Idalia and the Maui wildfires, Biden said he would try to get in touch with McConnell.

"Mitch is a friend, as you know, not a joke," Biden said. "We always -- I know people don't believe that's the case -- but we have disagreements politically -- but he's a good friend. And so, I'm going to try to get in touch with him later this afternoon. I don't know enough to know."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is helped by, Sen. John Barrasso after the GOP leader froze at the microphones as he arrived for a news conference, at the Capitol in Washington, July 26, 2023.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

McConnell's health has drawn increased attention after he was hospitalized earlier this year following a fall at a Washington hotel. He suffered a concussion and fractured rib, requiring a five-day hospital stay and later inpatient rehabilitation.

He returned to the Senate weeks later to a warm embrace by colleagues, telling reporters it was "good to be back."

Congress is currently out of session for August recess. Senators are due back in Washington on Sept. 5.

Earlier this year, McConnell became the longest-serving Senate party leader in history.

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