“What are your thoughts on running for reelection in 2026?” asks a reporter from the crowd of the media briefing.
“What are my thoughts…on what?” asks Senator Mitch McConnell slowly.
“Running for reelection in 2026,” clarifies the reporter.
“Oh…” McConnell trails off. The room grows tense– what’s taking him so long to answer?
Suddenly, The 81-year-old’s eyes grow wide and unblinking. His thin lips squeeze together, turning them an unsightly shade of purple. His wrinkled hands grip the podium, his knuckles turning white from the pressure. McConnell’s aide appears panicked, running up to the frozen senator and putting an arm around his waist.
“Did you hear the question, senator? Running for reelection in 2026?” Like an animatronic, McConnell’s mouth opens and clamps shut without a sound.
“Alright I’m sorry you all, we’re gonna need a minute,” the aide says, taking a nervous gulp of air. Unfortunately, it would be a couple more minutes before she could move the statue that had replaced McConnell.
Eventually, when he did appear to break his trance, his aide told the crowd of reporters that they needed to speak up, essentially chalking this moment up to McConnell’s difficulty hearing.
This event, while shocking, is made extra sensational based on the fact that this same thing happened to McConnell a month ago on July 26th during a press conference. Similarly, the senator was asked a question, and instead of answering he paused, stared off into the distance with his lips pursed, gripped his podium, and was rendered completely silent.
News sites and others in politics expressed concern and confusion over McConnell’s strange actions. Especially as an elderly man, these moments of speechlessness may indicate severe health concerns.
Not long after his second freezing, White House health officials made a public statement saying they had examined McConnell and concluded he suffers from nothing more than “occasional lightheadedness”. Many were left confused by this conclusion, as McConnell didn’t seem to experience symptoms of lightheadedness like dizziness, loss of balance, or loss of consciousness.
Neurologists who spoke to the New York Times said McConnell’s actions indicated a much larger issue, one that is much more severe than a simple case of lightheadedness. They suggested possible mini-strokes but ultimately felt that focal seizures were more likely.
Focal seizures can be classified as partial seizures, only occurring in one part of the brain. Symptoms of focal seizures include staring off into space blankly while occasionally experiencing repetitive actions (like McConnell’s mouth opening and clamping shut soundlessly).
Perhaps making McConnell more prone to seizures is a concussion he suffered last May after tripping and falling at a hotel in Washington D.C. Head trauma can cause brain bleeding, a buildup of scar tissue, and/or a disruption of neurons within the brain. It is possible that McConnell’s brain is malfunctioning, causing him to experience a brief, but very noticeable seizure.
Additionally, we do not know if McConnell is experiencing these bouts of freezing while not in the public eye. If so, it’s important that he stops working immediately and receives medical attention. As an 81-year-old, allowing these episodes (potential seizures) to continue to occur can eventually lead to sudden, unexpected death.
Clearly, it is crucial that McConnell seeks medical help. These supposed seizures, having happened twice in a month, show a concerning frequency, especially considering he may be experiencing these symptoms out of the public eye as well.
Although he seems to desire staying in political office as long as possible, I think it’s best if the senator checks himself into another office: A doctor’s office.
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