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Capitol attending physician speaks out about McConnell's health after latest freeze-up incident
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Capitol attending physician speaks out about McConnell's health after latest freeze-up incident

The Capitol's attending physician, Brian Monahan, said Tuesday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) did not suffer a stroke or seizure when he appeared to freeze up last week.

What is the background?

While speaking with reporters in Kentucky last week, McConnell froze up for about 30 seconds after a reporter asked about his plans to run for re-election in 2026. He is 81 years old.

The scary episode came about one month after McConnell froze up mid-sentence in July while speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill. McConnell's office attributed both incidents to the Republican leader feeling "lightheaded" and denied that anything was wrong.

What did Monahan say?

After the Aug. 30 incident, Monahan conducted several medical examinations on McConnell, including a brain MRI and an electroencephalogram, and consulted with neurologists.

But there was no evidence of any neurological episode, Monahan said.

"My examination of you following your August 30, 2023 brief episode included several medical evaluations: brain MRI imaging, EEG study and consultations with several neurologists for a comprehensive neurology assessment," the doctor explained in a letter. "There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA or movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease."

That is welcome news for the Republican leader. But it likely will not slow down questions about McConnell's fitness for office.

Despite Monahan medically clearing McConnell last week, calls for McConnell's resignation intensified. However, McConnell's office has provided no indication that he plans to step down before his term ends.

Still, McConnell's top allies are defending him, saying publicly that McConnell is reassuring the Republican conference that he remains in good health.

"I spoke with Mitch yesterday afternoon ... and he was in good shape," Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said Sunday on CNN.

"He was direct. He said he fell. He said: 'I had that concussion.' And he said: 'They warned me that I would be lightheaded in the future and that I have got to be aware of it.' He said: 'It happened twice.' He said: 'It just so happens I'm doing it in front of reporters,'" Rounds continued. "But he felt good yesterday. He said he's got to watch his hydration levels."

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