On Wednesday (July 26), Mitch McConnell was scheduled to speak at a weekly news conference when he froze for nearly 30 seconds – motionless and speechless – in the middle of a sentence. After a short pause, his colleagues gathered around him and escorted him back to his office for a quick evaluation.
Republican senator John Barrasso of Wyoming – who is a notable physician – was gripping McConnell’s hand before escorting him back to the office. “Hey Mitch, anything else you want to say? Or should we just go back to your office? Do you want to say anything else to the press?” he was heard saying to Mitch.
Mitch McConnell returned to the podium a few minutes later and claimed to be ‘fine,’ but something was clearly wrong and it has a lot of people – politicians and those they serve – concerned about his age and declining health. Ironically, it’s the same thing Republicans have criticized President Joe Biden over.
It’s not just the frozen moment that has people concerned, though. Mitch McConnell has suffered two falls in the past four months – one more serious than the other. The first fall happened in March, when the Republican leader allegedly ‘tripped at a dinner event’ at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Washington, D.C..
“Leader McConnell tripped at a dinner event Wednesday evening and has been admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a concussion,” David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, said – he also suffered a fractured rib. “He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days of observation and treatment.”
After his most recent health scare, it was reported that Mitch McConnell also fell two weeks ago while exiting an airplane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The fall had previously gone unreported, but two sources came forward to NBC News shortly after McConnells’ frozen moment.
One source claimed that he tripped and face-planted on the ground as he disembarked the plane, while another source claimed he was being escorted through the crowded airport on a wheelchair – something Mitch McConnell’s office is describing as a ‘prudent and precautionary measure in a crowded area.’
Colleagues and Experts Hope Mitch McConnell is Okay
For the past few years, Republicans have criticized President Joe Biden (who is 80 years old) for his age and health – both physically and mentally. At the same time, they’ve been avoiding any criticism of their party leader’s age and health, even though it’s clearly becoming a problem – Mitch McConnell is 81.
As a result, many on Capitol Hill are ready to have a serious debate on the impact age and health have on someone’s political career. According to Helaine Olen (columnist for the Washington Post), ‘both Democrats and Republicans need to hold honest discussions about how age is not just a number.”
For someone who used to consider himself ‘stronger than mule piss,’ it’s obvious that his health is declining and he’s not the only one in a leadership position at 80+ years old – former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 83 years old and Dianne Feinstein of California is currently 90 years old.
Nonetheless, Mitch McConnell was cracking jokes as he left the Captiol on Wednesday – just hours after his frozen moment, which was caught on video. “The president called to check on me. I told him I got sandbagged,” he said – referring to a comment Biden made after suffering a fall of his own last month.
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