Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze again Wednesday, this time during a gaggle with reporters in Covington, Kentucky, stopping for more than 30 seconds after he was asked whether he would run for re-election.
McConnell, R-Ky., froze in July at a news conference on Capitol Hill, going silent for 19 seconds, before he was escorted away from the cameras. McConnell, 81, returned shortly afterward and continued his news conference, telling reporters, “I’m fine.”
When it became apparent that McConnell had frozen again Wednesday, an aide went up to him and asked, “Did you hear the question, senator?” McConnell continued to be unresponsive.
Once McConnell re-engaged, he responded briefly to another question about Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican; his aide needed to repeat the question to him. McConnell was then asked about former President Donald Trump, another question that had to be repeated. McConnell brushed off the question because he does not usually engage in Trump-related topics.
He then left. Reporters did not ask McConnell about the episode.
"Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today," a spokesperson said.
An aide said McConnell "feels fine" but will consult a doctor before his next event as "a prudential measure."
McConnell spoke for about 20 minutes Wednesday before the question-and-answer session with reporters. After the event, he made phone calls to fellow Republicans in Senate leadership.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., spoke to McConnell and said that “the Leader sounded like his usual self and was in good spirits,” a spokesperson for Thune said in a statement.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines, R-Mont., also spoke to McConnell "and was glad to hear the Leader sounds like himself and is feeling fine,” a Daines spokesperson said in a statement.
Asked by NBC News about McConnell's apparent freeze Wednesday, President Joe Biden said that he had just heard about it and that he would "try to get in touch with him later this afternoon."
"Mitch is a friend, as you know — not a joke. ... I know people don’t believe that the case, but we have disagreements politically, but he’s a good friend," Biden said after he spoke at the White House about Hurricane Idalia and the Hawaii wildfires.