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Concern for top US Republican McConnell after second freeze while speaking

Concern for top US Republican after second freeze while speaking
Source: Video Screenshot

Top US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell appeared briefly unable to speak at a news conference on Wednesday, marking the second time in recent weeks that the 81-year-old has abruptly frozen at a public event.

McConnell was answering reporters’ questions in his home state Kentucky when he fell silent for around 30 seconds, even after being prompted by an aide.

“Did you hear the question, senator?” the staffer asked after an awkward pause and, as McConnell continued to be unresponsive, she told the room: “I’m sorry, you all. We’re going to need a minute.”

It is McConnell’s second health scare since July, when he froze mid-sentence during a press conference in Congress and stood motionless at a microphone for about 20 seconds before aides and fellow senators led him away.

At that time, the veteran Kentucky politician returned several minutes later and told reporters he was “fine” before taking questions.

McConnell has been the top Republican in the US Senate since 2007, and wielded unflinching power as majority leader from 2015 to 2021.

He notably engineered conservatives taking a majority on the Supreme Court by stalling a confirmation hearing for Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016 and ensured that Trump was not convicted after his unprecedented two impeachments.

In March, McConnell was hospitalized after he tripped and fell during a private dinner. He suffered a concussion and a fractured rib, and spent six weeks away from the Senate, undergoing physical therapy.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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