Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, raised eyebrows across the nation on Wednesday when he froze during a press briefing and remained silent and still for a long period, leading people to wonder if he had a stroke or is just getting old and generally infirm.
Though his office told Fox News that Sen. McConnell “felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment. He came back to handle Q and A, which as everyone observed was sharp,” the questions about Sen. McConnell’s health on Twitter didn’t go away. Instead, people kept asking why many of the “leaders” in DC are geriatric and have been in office for decades.
Then a report emerged in NBC which claimed that this wasn’t Sen. McConnell’s first health problem of note recently. In addition to the fall that hospitalized him a few months ago with a cracked rib and concussion, Sen. McConnell apparently fell while trying to step off a plane about two weeks ago and, when falling, hit his head.
NBC News, reporting on that fall and injury, said, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tripped and fell disembarking from a plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport this month, two sources familiar with the incident said.”
Continuing, the report added a few more details, saying, “The fall, which has not been previously reported, occurred July 14 after the flight out of Washington was canceled while everyone was on board. McConnell, R-Ky., who was a passenger, had a “face plant,” someone who was on the plane at the time but did not witness the fall told NBC News. That passenger also said they spoke to another passenger who helped tend to McConnell.”
The report then added that Sen. McConnell has to use a wheelchair to safely navigate airports, saying, “McConnell has also recently been using a wheelchair as a precaution when he navigates crowded airports, said a source familiar with his practices.”
A Republican senator, who spoke on a condition of anonymity to NBC News because of the sensitivity of the issue to the GOP and its leadership, said that Sen. McConnell is “definitely slower with his gait” but that in private meetings, McConnell “doesn’t address” his seemingly serious health issues.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, however, said that Sen. McConnel is “as sharp as he ever was” and then added, “I’ll support Sen. McConnell as long as he wants to continue to serve.”
Axios added that McConnell is currently in a contentious fight with the populist wing of the GOP over his support for the Ukrainian war effort and his anti-Trump stance, saying, “The Kentucky Republican has routinely used his floor speeches over the last year to make an impassioned case for ramping up U.S. military aid to Ukraine — clashing with House Republicans and leading presidential candidates who oppose the war effort” and “That and his criticism of Trump after Jan. 6 have made McConnell an enemy of the GOP base as well as Democrats; A poll in January found he is America’s least popular senator.“
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