Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell froze for nearly 30 seconds during a press conference Wednesday, an episode his office attributed to him being “momentarily lightheaded.”
The Senate minority leader, speaking in Kentucky, froze while answering questions from reporters. Aides stepped in to help McConnell out and repeat questions. Before McConnell froze, he was asked about whether he planned to run for reelection in 2026.
“Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today,” a spokesperson for his office said. An aide added that McConnell planned to consult a physician before any more events.
More broadly, Wednesday’s events threw the spotlight back onto one of the defining trends in today’s US politics: the senior citizens who have no intention of leaving posts atop the US government, including 80-year-old President Joe Biden, and one former president who wants power back – 77-year-old Donald Trump. Also in the Senate, California’s Dianne Feinstein, 90, has been ill and displayed apparent cognitive decline in public in recent months.
The issue of whether someone is too old to serve is a discomforting one, since it involves discussing private health issues and mortality. And in the case of Feinstein, some have complained that demands for her to leave her job are sexist since plenty of aging male senators – like the late Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who was 99 when he retired from the chamber, and the late Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who was 92 when he died in office in 2010 – didn’t face similar demands to step down.
BREAKING: Sen. Mitch McConnell appears to freeze again while taking questions from reporters in Kentucky, halting for more than 30 seconds after he was asked if he would run for re-election. pic.twitter.com/5kCyQjqzF7
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 30, 2023