McConnell dodges questions on his health in first press conference back in Washington


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell repeatedly refused to give more detail Wednesday on what exactly was ailing him during a pair of freezing episodes in recent weeks.

Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, was peppered with questions about his health during Senate leadership’s first press conference since returning to Washington this week from a summer recess. He said the recent report from the U.S. Capitol attending physician Dr. Brian P. Monahan had “covered the subject fully.”

“I don’t have anything to add to it and I think it should answer any reasonable question,” Mr. McConnell said.

Dr. Monahan’s report found that there was no evidence that Mr. McConnell had a seizure disorder, experienced a stroke, or had a movement disorder after extensive testing, which included brain MRI imaging, EEGs and consultation with neurologists for a comprehensive neurological assessment.

When asked what his future might be in the Senate, the 81-year-old ended the press conference by saying he had “no announcements to make on that subject.”

“I’m going to finish my term as leader and I’m going to finish my Senate term, ” Mr. McConnell said.

Consideration for new Senate leadership is expected to take place after the 2024 election, while Mr. McConnell’s Senate term will end in 2027.

Mr. McConnell has frozen twice this summer during interactions with the media, and has blamed the episodes on a concussion he received earlier this year. Dr. Monahan’s report cleared Mr. McConnell to return to work, and concluded that lightheadedness from the same concussion, and dehydration, could be behind the temporary freezes.

Those episodes prompted speculation over the Senate GOP leader’s health and ability to continue leading the party.

Prior to his remarks, Mr. McConnell met with fellow GOP senators in a closed-door session where he gave an update on his health. Senate Minority Whip John Thune, South Dakota Republican, told reporters after the meeting that “everybody left feeling very good” about Mr. McConnell’s health.

Other GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber, however, have been more skeptical. Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, questioned Dr. Monahan’s diagnosis, and urged Mr. McConnell to be more forthcoming with his health issues.


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