McConnell still ‘sharp’ despite health scare, GOP senator tells media — RT World News

The 81-year-old politician froze during a press conference this week and had to be escorted away

US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remains “intellectually sharp,” a Republican senator told NBC News on Friday following an incident on live TV, which sparked concerns over McConnell’s health.

Speaking to the outlet on condition of anonymity, the senator who “considers themselves a McConnell ally” noted “murmurings” within their party about the GOP leader in the Senate, saying they “kind of do” think he should leave office given his advanced age.

“I’d hate to see it forced on him. You can do these things with dignity, or it becomes less dignified. And I hope he does it in a dignified way – for his own legacy and reputation,” the unnamed lawmaker said.

While the senator noted that McConnell is still “intellectually sharp” and “bright on a whole host of issues, including baseball,” they added that he does not speak or answer questions from fellow lawmakers as often as he used to.

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“People think that he’s not hearing well,” the senator said. “I think that he is just not processing.”

Another GOP senator reportedly close to McConnell said he is “definitely slower with his gait,” but went on to state that the lawmaker rarely discusses his own health.

McConnell suddenly froze mid-sentence when speaking at a weekly Republican leadership news conference Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill. The politician looked confused as he stood silent for a few moments before staffers escorted him away from the cameras. Though he later returned to the conference on his own and said he was “fine,” the episode led observers to question if the high-ranking Republican had suffered a partial seizure or a stroke.

The 81-year-old has sustained three falls this year alone, the worst of which resulted in a concussion and a fractured rib, leaving him unable to perform his duties for six weeks. On multiple occasions since the head injury, McConnell has appeared to have trouble responding to questions from reporters. 

“He suffered a really bad fall, and that’s actually had an impact on him. Obviously, that fall affected him,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson told NBC, adding: “Age affects us all. You can’t deny that reality.”

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Similar worries have also been raised across the aisle for senior Democrats, including the 80-year-old President Joe Biden, the oldest US leader to hold the office. Since taking power in 2021, Biden’s age has come under the media spotlight several times, including after multiple falls, as well as frequent verbal gaffes.

As the oldest-serving senator at the age of 90, Democrat Dianne Feinstein has also suffered declining health. After returning to office following a two-month break due to a shingles diagnosis, she has appeared disoriented on more than one occasion. During a committee meeting on Thursday, Feinstein became confused and began reading a statement instead of casting her vote, and had to be guided by aides. A staffer later told CBS News that she was “preoccupied” and “didn’t realize debate had just ended and a vote was called.”

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