Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been medically cleared to resume his duties by the U.S. Capitol attending physician after his alarming freeze-up at an event in Kentucky this week.
Brian Monahan, the attending physician, said he informed McConnell that he is “medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned” after consulting with the GOP leader and his neurology team.
“Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” Monahan added in a statement released by McConnell’s office on Thursday.
At a news conference Wednesday, McConnell, 81, didn’t respond for about 30 seconds after he was asked about running for reelection in 2026, prompting aides to rush to his side. It’s the second alarming episode the senator has had in the past five weeks. McConnell’s aides said he “felt momentarily lightheaded” during the latest freeze-up.
McConnell was hospitalized for a concussion and broken ribs after falling earlier this year. The longtime Kentucky Republican senator is a polio survivor.
President Joe Biden said he spoke with McConnell on Thursday.
“He was his old self on the telephone. … It’s not at all unusual to have the response that sometimes happens to Mitch when you’ve had a severe concussion,” Biden said while at a Federal Emergency Management Agency event in Washington.
The efforts by McConnell’s team and his allies to tamp down speculation about the senator’s health aren’t likely to quell swirling questions about his future as a party leader. Several GOP senators are weighing calls for a caucus meeting to discuss their party’s leadership once the Senate returns from its August recess next week, according to Politico. And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) even suggested McConnell should step down, calling him and other older politicians “not fit for office.”
Still, one prominent McConnell detractor isn’t pushing for his ouster this time. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who led a failed effort to oust McConnell as leader earlier this year, said he didn’t see McConnell going anywhere anytime soon.
“I expect he’ll continue to be the Republican leader through this term,” Scott told CBS News on Wednesday. “We’ll have another election after the 2024 elections.”