McConnell froze while speaking to reporters in Kentucky


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell froze for about 30 seconds while speaking to reporters after a speech in Covington, Kentucky, on Wednesday.

The incident is similar to an episode McConnell experienced at the US Capitol late last month and could raise further questions about the 81-year-old’s fitness to lead the Senate Republican caucus.

Wednesday’s episode happened when a reporter asked the Republican leader if he planned to run for re-election in 2026. McConnell asked him to repeat the question several times, laughed for a moment, then paused.

Then someone by his side said, “Senator, have you asked the question of running for re-election in 2026?” he asked. McConnell did not respond.

“Excuse me everybody, we’re going to need a minute,” the aide told reporters. A member of the senator’s detail spoke to him quietly for a moment, and McConnell managed to whisper a reply to him.

McConnell turned to reporters and said, “Okay,” and his aide asked if anyone had any other questions and if reporters could “talk.”

CNN has reached out to McConnell’s office for comment.

McConnell, the Senate Republican leader since 2007, has faced questions about his health throughout the year. He was treated for a concussion and broken bones in a fall at a Washington hotel in March, and returned to the Senate several weeks later.

In late July, McConnell froze for 30 seconds during a news conference on Capitol Hill. At the time, his office said the Kentucky Republican was “lightheaded” and Republicans later said he was dehydrated. Speaking to reporters after the incident, McConnell insisted he was “fine.”

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White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday afternoon that if President Joe Biden knew about McConnell’s recent paralysis, “Obviously, we wish him well — and we wish him well.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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