Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was escorted from the podium during a press conference on Wednesday after the Kentucky senator froze in the middle of a sentence and stood there, not moving, for a long period of time.
McConnell, age 81, was addressing the press about the anticipated finalization of the National Defense Authorization Act before suddenly freezing mid-sentence.
After McConnell froze, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) could be seen grabbing McConnell’s arm and whispering, “Hey Mitch, anything else you want to say? Or should we just go back to your office? Do you want to say anything else to the press?” McConnell was then escorted away from the press by an aide, according to CNN.
McConnell, who reappeared minutes later in front of the press, assured reporters, “I’m fine,” when he was questioned about his ability to fulfill his job and whether the sudden freeze during Wednesday’s press conference was related to his previous injury earlier this year.
According to NBC News, when asked about Wednesday’s incident, a McConnell aide acknowledged that the senator “felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment.” However, the aide said, “He came back to handle Q and A, which as everyone observed was sharp.”
The Kentucky senator has served in the U.S. Senate since 1985. Wednesday’s press conference freeze prompted concerns in light of McConnell’s previous hospitalization earlier this year.
On March 8, McConnell was hospitalized due to a concussion and a minor rib fracture that was caused when the Republican senator fell at the Waldorf Astoria after a Senate Leadership Fund event. McConnell was later discharged on March 13 prior to receiving rehab treatment; however, the GOP leader did not return to the Senate until the middle of April.
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.