Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took a momentary pause on Wednesday while attending a press conference with other Republican Senate leaders as they discussed working together on the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).
The Kentucky Senator was surrounded by his colleagues, including Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), when he momentarily froze in the middle of his opening statement.
“Good afternoon, everyone. We’re on a path to finishing the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) this week, there’s been good bipartisan cooperation and a string of…” McConnell said, before going silent for roughly 20 seconds.
That’s when Barrasso, who is also a physician, stepped in to check on McConnell, asking, “You okay, Mitch?” He also suggested that McConnell take a break and exit the press conference, offering to handle any remaining questions.
Odd moment: McConnell freezes at start of Senate GOP leadership press conference and is escorted to the side by his colleagues pic.twitter.com/hT5bLnstOS
— Raquel Martin (@RaquelMartinTV) July 26, 2023
McConnell stepped away with Barrasso, and Senator John Thune (R-SD) took over in the meantime.
However, an aide for McConnell later clarified the situation and told reporters, “He felt light-headed and stepped away for a moment. He came back to handle Q and A, which as everyone observed was sharp.”
Barrasso confirmed this, and also added that his concern was heightened due to McConnell needing medical attention after falling and hitting the back of his head earlier this year.
Sure enough, McConnell made a full recovery and shortly after his brief break from the press conference, he returned to field questions from reporters.
The senator quipped about President Joe Biden when asked how he was doing. “The president called to check on me,” McConnell joked. “I told him I got sandbagged. … Gotta watch those sandbags!”
BREAKING: Biden takes a big fall on stage just now at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation pic.twitter.com/GxkMbpyoNo
— Jake Schneider (@jacobkschneider) June 1, 2023
No further medical assistance was required after McConnell’s pause, and his courageous showing despite the potential health scare has been applauded by many. He successfully answered every question and his colleagues are confident the senator will continue to make great strides with the NDAA.