June 12, 2024

Mitch McConnell cleared to resume Senate duties

Mitch McConnell cleared to resume Senate duties


Washington — The attending physician of Congress said Thursday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is medically clear to proceed with his duties after the Republican senator experienced a second freezing episode while answering questions from reporters in Kentucky.

“I have consulted with Leader McConnell and conferred with his neurology team. After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned,” Dr. Brian Monahan, who oversees the medical well-being of members of Congress, said in a letter distributed by McConnell’s office. 

“Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” he said. McConnell, 81, suffered a concussion in March after falling at a private dinner event in Washington, D.C.

Concerns about McConnell arose after the Kentucky senator appeared to freeze for roughly 30 seconds while answering a reporter’s question during an event in his home state. The episode marked the second time in the span of roughly a month that McConnell has stopped speaking suddenly for several seconds.

A spokesperson for the GOP leader said after the incident that he felt “momentarily lightheaded and paused” during the press conference. And aide to the senator said McConnell would consult a physician before his next event.

Hours after the episode, McConnell attended a fundraiser with GOP Rep. Jim Banks, who is running for the Senate in Indiana.

The now two incidents have prompted questions about the health of McConnell, who is the longest-serving party leader in the Senate. McConnell’s GOP Senate colleagues have offered him well-wishes following the freezing episode Wednesday, and President Biden told reporters on Thursday he spoke to the senator and doesn’t have concerns about McConnell’s ability to do his job on Capitol Hill.

“He was his old self on the telephone,” the president said after speaking at FEMA’s headquarters in Washington. “Having a little understanding of dealing with neurosurgeons … it’s not at all unusual to have the response that sometimes happens to Mitch when you’ve had a severe concussion. It’s part of the recovery and so I’m confident he’s going to be back to his old self.”

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