By: Molly Schramm
COVINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R) froze up for multiple seconds Wednesday during a forum in Covington.
The Senate minority leader was answering questions during the event when he said he couldn’t hear the question. The reporter asked the question again before the Republican leader stopped speaking and blankly stared with expression for several seconds.
Another person then came up to the senator and asked him if he heard the question before saying they’d need a minute to continue.
“What are your thoughts on running for reelection?” the reporter asks.
“What are my thoughts about what?” McConnell replied.
“Running for reelection in 2026,” the reporter says.
“Oh, that’s a…” McConnell says before stopping for a few seconds.
“Did you hear the question senator? Running for reelection in 2026,” an aide asks to no reply. “Alright, I’m sorry you all, we’re going to need a minute.”
McConnell did not leave the event and continued taking questions after the hiccup, but not for very long. McConnell is in Covington to speak on various topics like the Brent Spence Bridge at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Government Forum at the Madison Event Center.
McConnell’s office issued a statement after the incident.
“Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today,” his office said.
An aide of McConnell’s said the GOP leader will be consulting a physician before his next event.
President Biden said at the end of a Hurricane Idalia press conference that he’d be reaching out to McConnell to ask how he is.
“He’s a good friend,” Biden said.
Pres. Biden says he will try to get in touch with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this afternoon after the Kentucky Republican appeared to freeze during a press conference.— ABC News (@ABC) August 30, 2023
"He's a good friend." https://t.co/27vzocQ1JT pic.twitter.com/wRYf2p0IfE
This is the second time in two months that McConnell has froze up at press conferences.
In late July, McConnell left his own press conference at the Capitol after a similar situation. McConnell approached the podium, began speaking but then he appeared to lose his train of thought before stopping his remarks mid-sentence and staring off blankly for several seconds.
When asked about the July situation, McConnell said he was “fine” and did not elaborate.
McConnell, 81, was out of the Senate for almost six weeks earlier this year after falling and hitting his head. His office later said he suffered a concussion and fractured a rib.
McConnell is the second most powerful person in the Senate. If McConnell were to leave his position vacant, Gov. Beshear would choose a temporary replacement from a list of GOP nominees. Voters would then get to elect a new person to that position at the next election.
Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati.