Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is the subject of heavy discussion after visibly freezing during a press conference, then leaving.
On Wednesday (July 26th), the Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky was at the podium holding his weekly news conference. He began to talk about the annual defense spending authorization bill, saying there had “been good bipartisan cooperation, and a string of …” before he abruptly stopped speaking and stared off into space as his colleagues looked on for about half a minute.
“Are you good, Mitch?” asked Iowa Senator Joni Ernst. “Anything else you want to say, or should we just go back to your office?” asked Senator John Barrasso as he grabbed McConnell’s arm. “Do you want to say anything else to the press?” he repeated. McConnell mouthed “no” and Barrasso (who is a practicing surgeon) and aides led him away from the podium as Senator John Thune of South Dakota took over. McConnell would return and take questions from the gaggle of reporters and answered “I’m fine” when asked about his condition.
The episode has raised a multitude of questions about the 81-year-old legislator’s health. A polio survivor from childhood, McConnell was absent for 40 days from the Senate while recovering from a fall in March at the Waldorf Astoria in the nation’s capital. A CNN report cites sources that said that McConnell suffered two more falls – one in February while in Helsinki meeting with the Finnish president, and another just this month where he tripped and fell while deplaning at Reagan National Airport.
The episode caused concern from many who got wind of it online, eliciting an array of responses from those concerned about his wellbeing to those that highlighted the Republican’s callousness over the years in his legislative policies especially concerning healthcare with a couple of jokes sprinkled in.
1. Scott MacFarlane
The veteran reporter caught up with the senator from Kentucky who joked about the incident and stated that President Biden called to wish him well afterward.
2. Patrick S. Tomlinson
The sci-fi author makes a valid point concerning McConnell’s ongoing medical treatment despite his efforts to deny millions better healthcare.
3. Uche’ Blackstock
The doctor and author offered advice on what should be done if people observe someone going through a similar episode.
4. Monica Verduzzo-Gutierrez
The chair of rehabilitative medicine at the University of Texas Health offers more insight on the situation.
5. Imani Barbarin
The disability activist shared a few pertinent thoughts on McConnell and what that episode signifies.