CNN medical analyst says McConnell suffering seizures as senator again freezes up during press conference

August 31, 2023
Ben Marquis

For the second time in two months, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday froze up and was unable to move or speak for a period of time while receiving questions from reporters.

Now a CNN medical analyst has suggested that the appearance of Sen. McConnell freezing up behind the podium may be evidence of his suffering a seizure, according to Breitbart.

That analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, further linked the two highly concerning incidents to a concussion the Senate Republican leader suffered when he fell and injured himself in an incident in March of this year.

McConnell freezes up ... again

On Wednesday, Sen. McConnell was addressing reporters and taking their questions at a North Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Forum in his home state when he suddenly appeared to be unable to move or speak following a question about whether he would seek re-election in 2026.

Even after an aide approached and repeated the question, McConnell still appeared incapable of doing anything other than gripping the sides of the podium he stood behind, though he was eventually able to just barely speak again about 30 seconds later.

The incident occurred a little more than a month after McConnell had to be escorted away from a podium by his fellow Senate Republican leaders after he froze up and was unable to move or speak during a press conference in the Capitol building, though he appeared to be fine just a few moments later, as reported on at that time by NBC News.

CNN medical analyst suspects McConnell suffering seizures

Later on Wednesday, during a discussion on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," Breitbart reported that Dr. Reiner said of Sen. McConnell, "The Senator has had a really precipitous decline in his health over the last several months, and it’s playing out very publicly. So, my heart goes out to him."

"What I see basically is the senator becoming perhaps a little bit confused, and he stares off to the side, sort of to the upper side and is unable to speak for about ten seconds. That looks like he’s having a type of seizure called an absence seizure," the doctor explained.

"The Senator had a really traumatic brain injury in March when he fell. And about 10 percent of people who have a big enough injury to be hospitalized after a head injury like that will subsequently have things like a seizure," he continued. "And that’s what it looks like to me. They basically are mirror images as the one he had about five weeks ago. They basically are mirror images."

"I would be very surprised if the senator has not had a thorough neurologic evaluation. The folks who work on Capitol Hill, the House and members of the Senate have a really wonderfully sophisticated group of doctors who work basically for them," Reiner added. "So I’m sure the senator has availed himself of their expertise, and they’ve probably done a very deep dive into why the last episode five weeks ago occurred. So, I think that’s why maybe there’s no apparent sense of urgency now."

McConnell cleared to keep working by doctor

As it turned out, according to the same local Kentucky journalist who posted the video clip of Sen. McConnell freezing during the question about his potential re-election plans -- which McConnell's team dismissed as him feeling "momentarily lightheaded" -- the senator did get checked out by his doctor but was given the all clear to continue working.

"After evaluating yesterday's incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned," Dr. Brian P. Monahan said in a statement shared by McConnell's office. "Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration."

If it is true that Sen. McConnell is only suffering from the typical side effects of a concussion, that is one thing, but if it is true that he is also suffering some sort of seizure during these freezing episodes, that is seemingly a substantial concern that merits legitimate discussion about his continued capabilities to do the job he was elected to do.

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