McConnell Cleared to Continue His Schedule
WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been medically cleared to “continue with his schedule as planned,” a day after he appeared to freeze up while taking questions from reporters in Covington, Kentucky.
In a brief letter, Brian Monahan, attending physician to the U.S. Congress, said he consulted with McConnell and conferred with the Republican leader’s neurology team, he concluded the 81-year-old senator is basically fine.
“Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” Monahan said in the one-paragraph note.
Monahan’s evaluation was released shortly after President Joe Biden offered his own, more anecdotal assessment of his longtime colleague during a visit to the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I spoke to him today,” Biden said in answer to a reporter’s question.
“He was his old self on the telephone,” he said.
Like Monahan, Biden also suggested that McConnell’s recurring issues are not unusual for someone who suffered a concussion earlier in the year.
Wednesday’s episode came just over a month after McConnell froze up during his weekly press conference in the Capitol.
At that time, he broke off in mid sentence and stared straight ahead without saying anything for several seconds before being escorted away from the press conference.
Wednesday’s incident was very similar, with McConnell freezing up for as long as 30 seconds before an aide intervened and walked him away.
McConnell, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984, was hospitalized in March after he tripped and fell at a Washington, D.C., hotel.
He was attending a private dinner when he tripped. He was admitted to a hospital for treatment, spokesman Doug Andres said at the time.
McConnell also suffered a fall in 2019, while at his home in Kentucky. Afterwards he underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his shoulder.
The Senate had just started a summer recess at the time of that incident, and McConnell worked from home for several weeks as he recovered.