McConnell again falls silent, this time while speaking to reporters in northern Kentucky
Published 9:30 am Thursday, August 31, 2023
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell fell silent and appeared to freeze while speaking to reporters Wednesday in Covington, his second such public episode in as many months.
A spokesman for the Senate Republican leader told the Lantern that McConnell “felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today.”
“While he feels fine, as a prudential measure, the Leader will be consulting a physician prior to his next event,” a McConnell aide said on background.
On July 26, McConnell, 81, had to be escorted away after appearing to freeze during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, raising concerns about his health. McConnell suffered a concussion in March after a fall.
McConnell, who has been traveling Kentucky making appearances during Congress’ August recess, was the featured speaker Wednesday at a gathering of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which presented him with an award.
LINK nky reporter Haley Parnell, who was at the event, reports that McConnell was answering questions from reporters after his prepared remarks when he appeared to freeze.
“After the approximate 30-second pause, McConnell appeared to have trouble hearing, and his responses were difficult to understand,” Parnell reports.
“The freeze-up occurred following a question regarding his reelection. Reporters in the room were told he needed a minute. McConnell did not answer the question and moved on to the next,” LINK nky reports.
In response to the next question, McConnell touted Republican Daniel Cameron’s candidacy for Kentucky governor.
Asked for his thoughts on former President Donald Trump, McConnell said he would not be commenting on the presidential race and was led out of the room, according to LINK nky.
During his prepared remarks, McConnell briefly discussed the Brent Spence Bridge project, inflation in Kentucky and the war in Ukraine, even cracking multiple jokes, LINK nky reports.
“I’m wired here like a suicide bomber,” McConnell said as he took the microphone.
McConnell spoke Aug. 5 at the Fancy Farm Picnic in West Kentucky and vowed to an audience at the Graves County GOP Breakfast that it would not be his last Fancy Farm. McConnell and other Kentucky political figures addressed an audience of more than 1,600 at the Kentucky Farm Bureau County Ham Breakfast at the Kentucky State Fair last week.
The Associated Press reported that President Joe Biden, when asked about McConnell at a press event said he had just heard what had happened. “Mitch is a friend, as you know,” Biden said. “Not a joke. … He’s a good friend. I’m going to try to get in touch with him this afternoon.”