Mitch McConnell has shut down a new inquiry into his health after being asked about two recent instances where he appeared to freeze in public.
When asked about the instances an interview with CBS News, the 81-year-old Kentucky rep insisted he is ‘completely recovered’.
‘Face the Nation’ moderator Margaret Brennan quizzed the politician on whether there is anything the public should know about his health – spurring a response from McConnell where he demanded they change the subject.
It was the first time McConnell – the second-most powerful person in the senate – spoke about the incidents since last month, where he said he has no plans to step down prematurely even after his most recent episode in August.
Prior to the inquiries about his health, the Republican tackled topics from Israel to the House Speaker race – but was visibly put off by Brennan’s questioning.
Elected and reelected several times, he first took office in 1985, and his term does not end until 2027. He has said he does not plan to retire.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday shut down inquiries about his health after being asked about two instances where he appeared to freeze in public in recent months
It was the first time McConnell – the second-most powerful person in the senate – spoke about the incidents since last month, where he said he has no plans to step down prematurely even after his most recent episode in August (right), and another in July (left)
‘I’m in good shape – completely recovered and back on the job,’ he said, months after being hospitalized and treated for a concussion after a fall at a DC dinner event in March.
‘I’m fine. I’m completely recovered, and I’m just fine,’ he said.
Brennan proceeded to point to how members of McConnell’s office last month released a statement about his medical status following his most recent episode the month before – where he appeared to freeze for some 30 seconds when asked if he will run for re-election in Kentucky.
The statement contained a declaration from Capitol physician Dr. Brian Monahan that ruled out a seizure, stroke, or movement disorder as the cause of the speaker’s second public freezing incident.
Instead, the DC doctor attributed the incident to dehydration and concussion recovery on the part of the Kentuckian – a prognosis that directly contradicted other doctors’ reported impressions of both of McConnell’s episodes.
Brennan said: ‘You and your office felt the need to share and disclose several of the details about your health after some of these public incidents – the doctor here said there was no evidence of Parkinson’s disease, or a stroke, or a seizure.’
She went on to ask: ‘And I wonder, is there anything the public should know that wasn’t disclosed?’
At that point, a stoic McConnell said for the second time that he was completely recovered, and competent enough both mentally and physically to continue with his six-year term.
During the interview ‘Face the Nation’ moderator Margaret Brennan, persistently quizzed the politician on whether there is anything more the public should know about his health – eventually spurring a curt response from McConnell where he asked they change the subject
Visibly peeved, the Senate’s second most powerful official at one point responded: ‘I think we oughta be talking about what we were talking about earlier rather than my health’
But Brennan persisted, again asking the senate leader: ‘So does that mean you think you are able to continue serving, and want to continue serving here – at a time where we are talking about incredible disfunction in Washington?’
The question put particular emphasis on the word ‘want’, and looked to visibly perturb the politician.
He responded: ‘I think we oughta be talking about what we were talking about earlier rather than my health.’
The inquiries about McConnell’s medical condition stopped there, but loomed large as the interview continued.
McConnell – the third-oldest senate official behind Bernie Sanders and Idaho’s Chuck Grassley – first suddenly stopped talking in front of press back in July, after which had to be walked away from a podium after freezing in front for several seconds.
A month later, another, similar incident occurred – after which McConnell garnered support among his GOP Senate colleagues in his bid to continue serving.
The minority leader was hospitalized back in March, during which he was treated for a concussion he sustained after falling at a DC hotel in front of several colleagues and other officials. He has continued to insist that he is still able and willing to do his job
The moments, however, left one Republican, fellow Kentuckyian Sen. Rand Paul, with concerns, telling reporters last month, ‘Everybody’s seen the clips – it’s not a valid medical diagnosis for people to say that’s dehydration.’
But as the interview showed, McConnel has continued to insist that he is still able and willing to do the job, and has repeatedly aired his desire to do so.
As previously mentioned, the minority leader was hospitalized back in March, during which he was treated for a concussion he sustained after falling at a DC hotel in front of several colleagues and other officials.