July 16, 2024

Politics

McConnell beforehand froze at a Capitol press convention in July.

Sen. Mitch McConnell speaks on the Kentucky Farm Bureau annual Nation Ham Breakfast on the Kentucky State Truthful on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. (Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal through AP) AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell appeared to briefly freeze up and was unable to reply a query from a reporter at an occasion in Kentucky on Wednesday, weeks after he had the same episode in Washington.

As seen on video from an area information station, the 81-year-old McConnell was requested whether or not he would run for reelection in 2026. The senator requested the reporter to repeat the query earlier than trailing off and staring straight forward for about 10 seconds.

An aide standing on the entrance of the room with McConnell then requested him whether or not he heard the query and repeated it to him. When McConnell didn’t reply, the aide introduced to the room that “we’re going to wish a minute,” and McConnell continued to stare forward. In all, he was silent for round 30 seconds.

McConnell ultimately answered two further questions — although not the one a couple of 2026 marketing campaign — and was halting and appeared to have some problem talking. The girl then ended the information convention and McConnell left the room, strolling slowly.

McConnell’s response was much like an incidence in July, when he froze for about 20 seconds at a information convention within the Capitol. That point, he went again to his workplace with aides after which returned to reply extra questions.

The most recent incident in Covington, Kentucky, on Wednesday solely provides to the questions in latest months about McConnell’s well being and whether or not the Republican, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and has served as GOP chief since 2007, will stay in Congress and in his management put up.

McConnell referred to as South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican who’s seen as one in every of his potential successors, after the occasion Wednesday. McConnell “seemed like his traditional self and was in good spirits,” Thune spokesman Ryan Wrasse mentioned.

Wednesday’s freeze-up got here after McConnell had given a 20-minute speech earlier on the occasion. He appeared extra snug throughout that a part of this system, discussing the upcoming Senate schedule and joking at one level that his job is like “a groundskeeper on the cemetery. All people is beneath you however no person is listening.”

His workplace mentioned afterward that McConnell was feeling “momentarily lightheaded” and would see a doctor earlier than his subsequent occasion. Equally, after the July episode, aides mentioned McConnell was lightheaded and McConnell advised reporters a number of hours later that he was “wonderful.” Neither McConnell or his aides have given any additional particulars about what occurred.

In March, McConnell suffered a concussion and a damaged rib after falling and hitting his head after a dinner occasion at a lodge. He didn’t return to the Senate for nearly six weeks. Since then, he has appeared to stroll extra slowly and his speech has typically sounded extra halting.

Requested about McConnell at a press occasion shortly afterward, President Joe Biden mentioned he had simply heard what had occurred. “Mitch is a pal, as you realize,” Biden mentioned. “Not a joke. … He’s pal. I’m going to attempt to get in contact with him this afternoon. ”

McConnell had polio in his early childhood and he has lengthy acknowledged some problem as an grownup in climbing stairs. Along with his fall in March, he additionally tripped and fell 4 years in the past at his dwelling in Kentucky, inflicting a shoulder fracture that required surgical procedure.

Related Press author Darlene Superville and video journalist Nathan Ellgren contributed to this report.