The office of Senate faction leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday released a letter from the attending congressional doctor, which said there was “no evidence” the leading Republican had a seizure disorder or had recently suffered a stroke.
Mr McConnell, 81, is one of the oldest members of the Senate. At two recent press conferences he appeared completely frozen, unable to speak or answer questions before being hurriedly taken away by aides or other members of the Chamber.
The incidents have alarmed many; The news of the congressional doctor's assessment of Mr. McConnell's health should allay some fears while raising more questions.
In the letter, noting that Mr McConnell underwent brain imaging as part of his examination, doctor Brian Monahan wrote: “[t]There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you have had a stroke, TIA, or a movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease.”
The story of the Senate GOP chairman's recent health concerns gets more complicated by the week. Earlier in the year, Mr McConnell was hospitalized for a concussion; Since then he has suffered at least two falls, one of which was only discovered after the fact, although it happened publicly at Washington's Reagan Airport.
His last freezing episode happened at a press conference in Kentucky. In video of the incident, Mr McConnell can be heard being asked clearly by a reporter if he intends to run for another six-year term from 2027.
In the video, Mr. McConnell asks the reporter to repeat the question and then stares at the reporters while his words trail off rather than answer clearly. He stands motionless for several seconds before an aide appears and repeats the question in his ear. he ignores them, and the aide then turns to the cameras and declares, “I'm sorry everyone, we need a minute.”
A previous episode went almost exactly the same way. Flanked by his peers at the Republican Senate conference at a July news conference, Mr. McConnell appeared frozen and unable to respond to reporters' questions before being led away by several peers.
The incidents are only likely to increase concerns about his age and suitability for office in the next election cycle.