Washington —Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze again during an exchange with reporters at an event in his home state of Kentucky on Wednesday. The incident comes about a month after McConnellstopped speaking mid-sentencefor several seconds during a press conference.
The incident occurred after McConnell, 81, was asked about running for re-election in 2026 during an event in Covington, Kentucky. The Republican leader acknowledged the question, but trailed off shortly after and stopped speaking. McConnell began to stare ahead and after roughly 10 seconds, an aide stepped in and asked whether he heard the question. McConnell replied, “yes,” but continued to look off into the distance, prompting the aide to say, “we’re going to need a minute.”
She then asked for assistance from what appeared to be a member of McConnell’s security detail. The senator appeared to regain his composure after roughly 30 seconds of silence, clearing his throat and stating, “OK.” McConnell answered two more questions from reporters, though his aide relayed the topics to him. He then left the gathering.
A spokesperson for McConnell said he felt “momentarily lightheaded and paused” during the press conference. An aide to the senator said though he feels fine, “as a prudential measure, the leader will be consulting a physician prior to his next event.”
President Biden told reporters after delivering remarks on the federal response toHurricane Idalia and thewildfires on Mauithat McConnell is a “good friend,” and said he is going to try to get in contact with him.
McConnell attended an event in Louisville Wednesday evening with Republican Rep. Jim Banks, who is running for Senate in Indiana. Banks posted a photo on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying he “Enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion with Leader McConnell this evening about the future of our country. I look forward to working with him on issues confronting our bordering states.”
The first instance of McConnell freezing occurred during a press conference in the U.S. Capitol on July 26, when he stopped speaking mid-sentence while delivering opening comments and appeared unable to continue with his remarks for roughly 15 seconds.
Sen. John Barrasso, a GOP senator from Wyoming who is a physician, approached McConnell to ask if he was OK and escorted him from the podium. The senator returned to answer questions and told reporters he was “fine.” An aide to McConnell later said he “felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment.”
The July incident prompted a wave of concern for McConnell’s health from his fellow senators and Mr. Biden, who called the senator to check on him. McConnell said he told the president he “got sandbagged,” a reference to when Mr. Bidentripped over a sandbagduring the U.S. Air Force Academy’s commencement ceremony this summer.
Republicans offered continued support for McConnell after the July episode, and aspokesperson told CBS News that the leader “plans to serve his full term in the job they overwhelmingly elected him to do.”
The freezing incidents come after McConnell tripped at a Washington hotel, where he was attending a dinner event, and suffered a concussion in March. He was hospitalized for several days and received additional treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. McConnell returned to the Senate more than a month after the fall.
McConnell has served as the top Senate Republican since 2007, and he became the longest-serving Senate leader in history when the new Congress began in January. He fended off a leadership challenge from Florida Sen. Rick Scott in November, the first of his tenure as party leader.