Health fears for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell after freezing again mid-press conference

The Republican politician asks the reporter to repeat himself before he can be seen staring ahead for around 30 seconds

Mitch McConnell appeared to briefly freeze up and was unable to answer a question from a reporter on Wednesday, prompting wider concerns over his health after a similar episode weeks ago.

The 81-year-old US Senate Republican leader is seen in footage from a local news station, as he was asked whether he would run for reelection in 2026.

The senator asked the reporter to repeat the question before he can be seen trailing off and staring straight ahead for about ten seconds.

An aide standing at the front of the room with McConnell then asked him whether he heard the question and repeated it to him.

An aide is seen interjecting to ask the Senate leader if he heard the question. Credit: AP

When McConnell did not answer, the aide announced to the room that "we’re going to need a minute," and McConnell continued to stare ahead.

The latest incident in Kentucky on Wednesday only adds to the questions in recent months about McConnell’s health and whether the Republican, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and has served as GOP leader since 2007, will remain in Congress and in his leadership post.

His reaction was similar to an occurrence in July, when he froze for about 20 seconds at a news conference in the Capitol.

That time, he went back to his office with aides and then returned to answer more questions.

McConnell eventually answered two additional questions at the Kentucky event - though not the one about a 2026 campaign - and appeared to have some difficulty speaking.

The aide then ended the news conference and McConnell slowly left the room.

His office said afterward that McConnell was feeling “momentarily lightheaded” and would see a physician before his next event.

In March, McConnell suffered a concussion and a broken rib after falling and hitting his head after a dinner event at a hotel - he did not return to the Senate for almost six weeks.

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