As WLTR reported Wednesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell shockingly froze at the podium during a Senate GOP leadership press conference and colleagues escorted him to the side.
Here's the footage:
Odd moment: McConnell freezes at start of Senate GOP leadership press conference and is escorted to the side by his colleagues pic.twitter.com/hT5bLnstOS
— Raquel Martin (@RaquelMartinTV) July 26, 2023
Mitch McConnell stopped speaking and froze at the podium today.
…he had to be physically walked back behind closed doors.
That man is not well. It’s time to send the folks who have been in D.C. for decades into retirement pic.twitter.com/GA8Xb1EDVq
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) July 26, 2023
NBC News confirmed the event:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suddenly stopped speaking during a weekly Republican leadership news conference on Wednesday afternoon, appearing to freeze, and then went silent and was walked away.
McConnell, R-Ky., had been making his opening remarks when he stopped talking. His Republican colleagues asked if he was OK, and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming escorted McConnell away from the cameras and reporters.
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa made a sign of the cross as if she was praying for McConnell.
A few minutes later, McConnell walked back to the news conference by himself. When asked about his health, he said he was fine.
McConnell’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
There's much speculation that McConnell suffered a stroke at the podium.
Even CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said McConnell “clearly had some kind of neurological event."
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta warned that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “clearly had some kind of neurological event” during his freezing incident on Wednesday and that he should be “checked out” by doctors as soon as possible.
Following the incident — which saw McConnell frozen and speechless for more than 30 seconds, before he was aided away from the podium — Gupta told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “It was definitely concerning to watch. I mean, I think his doctors will be looking at that tape and sort of, you know, trying to figure out what happened there. He needs to get checked out, I think that’s really the bottom line.”
Watch via CNN:
After freezing on camera, McConnell tried to laugh it off with a poorly-written joke.
"Well the president called to check on me. I told him I got sandbagged," McConnell said.
When asked how he's feeling, McConnell blankly stared into the distance and said "I'm fine."
"After suffering a stroke on camera Mitch McConnell tries to laugh it off with a joke hastily written by his staff then proceeds to immediately freeze up again and stare off into the middle distance," political commentator Benny Johnson wrote.
"McConnell is unwell. He is a cancer on the GOP. Resign," Johnson added.
After suffering a stroke on camera Mitch McConnell tries to laugh it off with a joke hastily written by his staff then proceeds to immediately freeze up again and stare off into the middle distance.
McConnell is unwell.
He is a cancer on the GOP.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) July 27, 2023
In a Thursday update, CNN reported the 81-year-old senator has fallen multiple times this year.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who froze during a news conference Wednesday and earlier this year suffered a concussion after falling down, has also endured two other falls this year, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.
The first known time, in February, occurred in Finland when McConnell and a US delegation met with the Finnish president in Helsinki, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
As he got out of his car on a snowy day and walked towards his meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, the GOP leader tripped and fell, the sources said of the incident which hasn’t been previously reported. He dusted himself off and continued on with the meeting.
“It was also very icy to the top,” said GOP Sen. Ted Budd, a North Carolina Republican who witnessed the incident. “So, it could happen any of us.”
Budd added, “All of us are concerned,” though, he said, McConnell appeared normal after the Finland fall.
That incident in Finland occurred just days before McConnell fell in March at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Washington, where he slammed his head and suffered a concussion and broken ribs, which sidelined him for nearly six weeks before he returned to the Senate.
And just this month at Reagan National Airport in Washington, McConnell was getting off the plane when he tripped and fell, a source familiar with this incident said. He returned to the Capitol later that day. NBC reported on the fall at the airport earlier on Wednesday.
Many people have called for McConnell to retire.
McConnell’s term doesn’t end until 2027.
He would be pushing 85 by the end of his term.
How would Kentucky replace McConnell if he retires or passes away before 2027?
Find out that answer from our prior reporting: