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US Senate Republican Leader McConnell freezes briefly during event

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell appeared briefly frozen and unable to answer a reporter’s question at an event in Kentucky on Wednesday, weeks after he had a similar episode in Washington.

According to a video from a local news channel, the 81-year-old was asked if he would run for office in 2026. The senator asked the reporter to repeat the question before stopping and watching straight ahead for about 10 seconds.

A woman standing in front of the room with McConnell asked him if he had heard the question, and she repeated it. When McConnell didn’t answer, she announced to the room that “we’re going to need a minute”. McConnell finally answered two more questions — but not the one about a 2026 campaign — and paused and appeared to have some difficulty speaking. The woman then ended the press conference and McConnell left the room walking slowly.

McConnell’s reaction was similar to a previous incident when he froze for about 20 seconds during a Capitol press conference in late July. He returned to his office with assistants, then returned to answer further questions.

The latest incident on Wednesday in Covington, Ky. adds to questions in recent months about McConnell’s health and whether the Kentucky Republican, first elected to the Senate in 1984 and Republican leader since 2007, will remain in his management position. .

His office later said McConnell felt “momentarily dizzy” and would seek medical attention before his next event. Similarly, after the July episode, his aides said McConnell was giddy. McConnell told reporters several hours later that he was “fine.” Neither McConnell nor his aides gave further details of what happened.

In March, McConnell suffered a concussion and a broken rib after falling and hitting his head after dining at a hotel. He did not return to the Senate for nearly six weeks. He uses a wheelchair at the airport when traveling to and from Kentucky. Since then, he seems to walk more slowly and his speech seems more jerky.

McConnell had polio in his early childhood and he has long admitted to having trouble climbing stairs as an adult. In addition to his fall in March, he also tripped and fell four years ago at his Kentucky home, causing a broken shoulder that required surgery.


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