During a press conference, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who experienced a severe head injury from a fall earlier in the year, unexpectedly paused while speaking and had to temporarily step away from the press conference.
Unconfirmed rumors circulating that McConnell might have had a stroke. The Kentucky senator halted mid-sentence during his routine weekly news conference at Capitol Hill. A moment of silence that lasted about half a minute ensued before his fellow Republicans stepped in to check on him. Senator John Barrasso from Wyoming was observed offering McConnell his arm for support and gently prodded him with, “Hey Mitch, do you have anything more to say? Or should we head back to your office? Any more statements for the press?”
McConnell didn’t respond, and an assistant guided him away from the press conference, heading towards his office. He later returned to the press conference. He returned to the press conference after a few minutes.
Clips showing the 81-year-old Senator’s speech gradually turning into inaudible mumbles before completely freezing and staring ahead blankly went viral on social media. CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta weighs in on McConnell freezing at press conference speculating it could have been a stroke.
This incident occurred nearly three months after McConnell’s six-week absence from work due to a concussion and rib injury from a fall at a Washington, D.C. hotel. After a five-day hospital stay, McConnell moved to a rehab center to complete his recovery and worked from home for a short period before returning to Capitol Hill.
The hashtag #Stroke started trending on social media platforms.
McConnell’s team explained that the senator felt light-headed and needed to step away briefly. The Senator later returned to the press conference and reassured everyone he was ‘fine’. “He came back to handle Q and A, which as everyone observed was sharp,” an aide said.