Republican Senators are considering convening a special gathering to assess their leadership following McConnell’s recent episodes of “freezing up.”
At 81 years old, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been medically cleared to continue his duties after he experienced a second occurrence of freezing in the last month on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, an incident occurred at a press conference in Covington, Kentucky where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suddenly entered a catatonic state and was unable to speak. An aide came to his aid and quickly concluded the press conference.
While this episode was publicly witnessed, it is likely that similar episodes have occurred in private as well.
At the end of last month, Senator McConnell displayed an unresponsiveness and vacant expression during a Senate press conference.
This followed his hospitalization in March due to a concussion and broken bone sustained from a fall, which was followed by a period of rehabilitation before his return to the Senate mid-April.
As suggested by the Capitol physician, McConnell may be experiencing small seizures.
“I have consulted with Leader McConnell and conferred with his neurology team. After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned. Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” Capitol physician Brian Monahan said in a statement on Thursday.
A handful of GOP senators are weighing whether to force a fraught internal debate about their leadership’s future after Mitch McConnell’s second public freeze-up in a month.
Some rank-and-file Republicans have discussed the possibility of a broader conversation once senators return to Washington next week, according to a person directly involved in the conversations who confirmed them on condition of anonymity. The party leadership is not currently involved in those discussions, and nothing has been decided yet, this person added.
It takes just five Republican senators to force a special conference meeting, which is the most direct way to have a specific discussion about the minority leader after his public pause on Wednesday revived questions about his condition. But the Senate GOP also holds private lunches two or three times a week, giving members another forum for hashing out the direction of the party’s leadership — one that could forestall the need for a special confab.