During a leadership press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell encountered a peculiar moment. While delivering his opening statement, McConnell unexpectedly paused for nearly 20 seconds, causing concern among his colleagues and the attending members of the press.
During his statement, McConnell spoke about the Senate’s progress on the annual defence authorisation bill and praised the positive bipartisan cooperation.
BREAKING: Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell freezes and appears unwell at a press conferencepic.twitter.com/k98r8X7xzW
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) July 26, 2023
However, it was then that he abruptly halted in the middle of a sentence, staring straight ahead without speaking another word.
Colleagues looked concerned
His sudden pause prompted a couple of his fellow leaders to express concern and reach out to see if he was doing good.
Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairwoman Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) went up to him and asked if he was okay, placing her hand on his arm.
Senate Republican Conference Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who is also a doctor, inquired about his well-being and offered assistance, placing his hand on McConnell’s right forearm.
“Let’s go back to your office,” said Barrasso. “Do you want to say anything else to the press? Let’s go back.” However, McConnell seemed reluctant to leave the press conference.
Ultimately, Barrasso consulted with one of McConnell’s aides and then led him down the hall to his office. After a short while, McConnell returned to the press conference before his fellow leaders had finished their remarks, as he customarily does every Wednesday.
‘I’m fine,’ says McConnell
CNN’s Manu Raju later questioned McConnell about the incident and whether it was related to health issues stemming from a previous concussion he suffered earlier that year.