A US Capitol doctor cleared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to return to work on Thursday, a day after the Kentucky Republican, 81, froze for the second time in two months during a news conference.
“I have consulted with Leader McConnell and consulted with his neurological team. After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue his schedule as planned,” Dr. Brian Monahan, the on-call physician at the U.S. Capitol, wrote in a statement released by McConnell’s office, per CNN.
“Intermittent lightheadedness is not uncommon during concussion recovery and can be expected as a result of dehydration,” Monahan continued.
Sen. Mitch McConnell in July.
Tom Williams/CQ roll call via AP
On Wednesday, McConnell abruptly stopped speaking during a news conference in Kentucky, as seen on tape by WLWT producer Hannah Thomas shared on Twitter, now known as X. A reporter asked McConnell if he planned to run for re-election in 2026 when he froze. The aide repeated the question to McConnell, then told reporters he needed a moment.
“Leader McConnell felt momentarily dizzy and paused during today’s press conference,” a McConnell spokesman said after the incident. “Although he feels fine, as a precautionary measure, the Leader will consult with a doctor before the next event,” the aide added.
On Wednesday night, McConnell attended a fundraiser for Rep. Jim Banks, who is running for a US Senate seat in Indiana. CNN reports that McConnell did not discuss the freezing incident. Banks told CNN that McConnell was “sharp,” “interesting” and “very involved in my race and following me closely.”
President Joe Biden said Thursday that he spoke by phone with McConnell, whom he described as his “old self.”
“You know, he was the old guy on the phone, and having a little understanding of working with neurosurgeons and people,” Biden said during a visit to FEMA headquarters.
“One of the leading women in my staff, her husband is also a neurosurgeon,” continued the president. “It’s not at all unusual to have an answer … When you get a severe concussion, that’s part of the recovery. And that’s why I’m convinced that it will go back to the way it was.”
Mitch McConnell suffered previously undisclosed lows before freezing on camera: report
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McConnell first froze during a press conference in July when he answered questions from reporters at the Capitol. He suddenly stopped speaking in the middle of a sentence, and his colleagues surrounded him. McConnell then stood to the side while other senators spoke at the lectern.
Later, a reporter asked McConnell if what happened was related to his downfall in March. “I’m fine,” McConnell said before telling a reporter he believed he could continue to do his job.
McConnell collapsed during an event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Washington, DC in March. He was hospitalized for five days, and his medical team determined he had suffered a minor rib fracture and a concussion, a spokesman said at the time.
McConnell has been the Senate GOP leader since 2007. Although his current term ends in 2027, Republican senators will vote on their leadership again in 2025, when the next Congress begins.