The Capitol’s attending physician, Brian Monahan, has released a new letter confirming that there is no evidence of Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell having a seizure disorder, stroke, or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease.
McConnell experienced two recent health scares in front of TV cameras, raising concerns about his ability to continue his position as the leader of the Senate GOP Conference. Mitch McConnell was evaluated by four neurologists following his most recent episode in Covington, Kentucky last week. Monahan conducted various evaluations, including brain MRI imaging and a test that measures electrical imaging in the brain, all of which showed no evidence of any serious health conditions.
On Tuesday, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained that although the tests Mitch McConnell underwent were detailed and significant, they cannot definitively rule out a seizure. Gupta noted that someone could have a seizure at a later time even if their EEG results are normal. However, Mitch McConnell’s test results provide valuable information about his health at the time they were conducted.
Mitch McConnell addressed the freezing episode during his floor remarks, mentioning that it has received a fair share of attention in the press. He assured everyone that August had been a busy and productive month for him and his staff back in Kentucky. Mitch McConnell is expected to discuss his health during a closed door conference meeting with Republican senators on Wednesday, where he will have the opportunity to address any concerns they may have.
Members of the Senate GOP leadership team dismissed worries about Mitch McConnell’s health during their weekly meeting, expressing their full support for him. When asked if he supports McConnell staying as leader in the next Congress, Senate GOP Whip John Thune stated that he did not want to speculate about that but emphasized his support for McConnell.
The exact cause of McConnell’s freezing episodes remains unclear. His office previously attributed them to “lightheadedness,” and Monahan had mentioned in a previous letter that lightheadedness is common for concussed individuals. McConnell suffered a concussion and broken ribs after falling at a Washington hotel in March, which kept him out of the Senate for nearly six weeks.
As the Senate returns from recess, questions about McConnell’s ability to continue leading his conference arise among GOP senators. While he is expected to remain leader for the current Congress, concerns grow about his future in the next Congress starting in 2025.
Despite these concerns, GOP senators such as Susan Collins and Mitt Romney believe McConnell is fully capable of handling his duties. Collins stated that she spoke to McConnell the day after the recent episode and he sounded fine, assuring her that he is prepared for the resumption of business. Romney mentioned that even if McConnell experiences brief checkouts, he still does an excellent job for the rest of the time.
However, not all GOP senators are satisfied with McConnell’s explanation. Rand Paul called the dehydration diagnosis inadequate and suggested that McConnell’s previous concussion has not yet fully healed. Tommy Tuberville expressed similar concerns and said that he wants to hear from McConnell during the full conference meeting to determine if he is able to fulfill his role as leader. Tuberville drew a parallel to his experience as a football coach, stating that players are not allowed back in the game until they have completely recovered from a concussion.
In conclusion, according to the latest statement from the Capitol physician, there is no evidence to suggest that McConnell has a seizure disorder, stroke, or movement disorder. McConnell underwent thorough evaluations and tests, which showed no evidence of any serious health conditions. While concerns remain among some GOP senators, others believe that McConnell is fully capable of continuing his leadership role in the Senate. The issue is likely to be discussed further during the upcoming conference meeting.