Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell brushed aside concerns about his two recent icing episodes and declined to elaborate on what happened on Wednesday.
The 81-year-old chuckled as reporters peppered him with questions about his own public health problems and insisted he had been transparent.
“Dr. Monahan’s report addressed these concerns,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters during a brief press briefing. “I really don’t have anything to add. I think he covered the topic pretty well.”
On Tuesday, McConnell’s office released a statement from Capitol Hill attending physician Dr. Brian Monahan, who examined the Republican Senate leader.
Monahan would not reveal what caused McConnell’s freezing episodes, stressing that “there is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or have suffered a stroke, TIA.” [mini-stroke] or a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease.”
A growing chorus of Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, 77, has suggested that the minority leader step aside, but McConnell insisted he plans to stay.
The 81-year-old Republican leader played coy about his recent health problems during a news conference on Wednesday. Getty Images
Before the question and answer session, Mitch McConnell blamed President Biden for the slow delivery of aid to Ukraine. REUTERS
“I am going to finish my term as leader and I am going to finish my term in the Senate,” McConnell declared defiantly before leaving the press conference.
McConnell’s Q&A with the congressional press corps lasted just under two minutes and followed a longer update from the Senate GOP to the public on their agenda.
Both episodes of the veteran senator’s public freeze occurred during press conferences.
McConnell first froze mid-sentence on July 26 for about 20 seconds during a press conference with the congressional press corps.
He again went unmoved, pausing for about 30 seconds on Aug. 30 while answering a reporter’s question about whether he intends to run for re-election in 2024 in Covington, Kentucky, near Cincinnati.
Mitch McConnell stared off into space during his freezing incident on August 30. via REUTERS
The Senate Minority Leader’s public freezeout on July 26 spooked the Beltway.AP
Last week, Monahan deemed McConnell “medically cleared” to continue his duties in the upper house.
“Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” the doctor noted last week.
McConnell suffered a concussion and a minor rib fracture on March 8 after falling during a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Washington, DC. As a result, he was banned from the Senate chambers for weeks.
Senator Mitch McConnell is famous for being tight-lipped and guarded with his words. REUTERS
Monahan’s comments drew skepticism from McConnell’s counterpart in Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul, a licensed physician.
“When you are dehydrated, you don’t have moments where your eyes stare into the distance with a blank stare and you are basically unconscious with your eyes open. That is not a symptom of dehydration,” she said. according to a journalist from The Hill.
Medical experts have suggested to the Post that a partial seizure could explain McConnell’s health problem.
Monahan carefully ruled out the possibility of a “seizure disorder.”
McConnell’s aides have emphasized that he was lucid after both public bouts of paralysis and insisted that he simply felt dizzy.
The concussion and frostbite are not the senator’s only public health scares.
In July, Senator Ted Budd (R-North Carolina) revealed to reporters that McConnell fell in February while leading a delegation of senators to Finland but appeared uninjured.
He also reportedly fell while disembarking from a canceled flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in northern Virginia on July 14.
The Kentucky senator has been coy about whether he intends to run for re-election in 2026.REUTERS
McConnell has led the Senate Republican Party since 2007, making him the longest-serving Senate Republican leader in US history.
Should he step aside early, Kentucky law requires the governor to name a Republican replacement, though Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Ky.) has not pledged to comply with that.