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Updated Aug 30, 2023, 3:13pm EDT
politicsNorth America

Republican leader Mitch McConnell freezes for a second time in press conference

Mitch McConnell
Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
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For the second time this summer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze during a press conference.

When asked whether he would seek re-election in 2026 during a press conference in Kentucky, the 81-year-old did not reply.

An aide asked him whether he had heard the question, but after he was unable to answer for around 30 seconds, the aide told reporters that “they would need a minute.”

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McConnell then became responsive and answered two questions quickly before leaving, according to reporters at the press conference.

A spokesperson for McConnell later said that he momentarily felt lightheaded and had to pause the event.

His aide told Semafor: “While he feels fine, as a prudential measure, the Leader will be consulting a physician prior to his next event.”

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This was the second time in little over a month that McConnell has struggled to speak during a public press conference. Last month, he abruptly froze for about 20 seconds when speaking to reporters and had to be escorted away.

His health has been in question since he had a fall at a dinner in March, requiring a six-week rehabilitation stint.

After the first freezing episode in July, McConnell’s team said he ”plans to serve his full term in the job they overwhelmingly elected him to do.”

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In response to the latest incident, President Joe Biden called McConnell a “good friend” and said he was going to get in touch with him later Wednesday.

On the other side of the aisle, California Sen. Diane Feinstein’s health has also raised concerns and prompted calls for resignation.

The 90-year-old Democrat was hospitalized earlier this year with shingles, which resulted in a complication of encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

In July, Feinstein appeared confused during a Senate Appropriations Committee markup. When it was her turn to vote, she instead began reading out from her prepared remarks on a defense funding bill, prompting Washington Sen. Pat Murray to tell her, “Just say ‘aye.’”

She was also temporarily hospitalized earlier this month after suffering a ”minor fall" at her California home.

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