GOP Senator Provides Update On McConnell After Second Freeze-Up
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., takes questions after taking a break from a news conference because of lightheadedness, after the senate luncheons on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is “perfectly capable” of continuing to serve after appearing to freeze up for the second time in a month, a GOP colleague said on Sunday.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) told CNN’s Dana Bash that he spoke with McConnell on Saturday and informed the Kentucky Republican that he wanted to touch base before doing the interview.

“He was in good shape,” Rounds said. “He was direct. He said he fell. He said, ‘I had that concussion.’ And he said, ‘They warned me that I would be lightheaded in the future and that I have got to be aware of it.'”

Rounds added: “He said, ‘It happened twice.’ He said, ‘It just so happens I’m doing it in front of reporters.’ But he felt good yesterday. He said he’s got to watch his hydration levels.”

CNN reported that McConnell, 81, had fallen multiple times this year and sustained a concussion. The report came out in late July after McConnell appeared momentarily unable to respond to questions during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Following a second incident last week — this one in Kentucky when McConnell paused for about thirty seconds when asked about his thoughts on running for re-election in 2026 — the attending physician of the U.S. Congress released a brief note.

“I have consulted with Leader McConnell and conferred with his neurology team. After evaluating (Wednesday’s) incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned,” said Dr. Brian Monahan. “Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration.”


Amid a renewed torrent of speculation about McConnell’s future and who might take his place as GOP leader in the Senate, Rounds insisted that McConnell would come back to Washington, D.C., and discuss the matter with his colleagues after the summer recess, during which the Kentucky Republican has been fundraising.

“Mitch is sharp, and he is shrewd. He understands what needs to be done. I will leave it up to him as to how he wants to discuss that with the American public,” Rounds said.

“But there’s no doubt in my mind that he is perfectly capable of continuing on at this stage of the game,” Rounds added. “And he’s got a good team around him. He’s done a good job of developing that leadership team. They have been supportive of him. During the time in which he was out of the center for a while, the team did a great job. My seatmate, John Thune here in South Dakota, picked up the reins and worked it well. And he had a great team around him as well. So I’m not worried about that at all. We have got a good team in place, and Mitch is there, and I think Mitch will be able to answer any questions that may come up.”

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