OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Following numerous freezing incidents in recent months, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed worries about his health and whether he would resign.
McConnell responded to inquiries about his health at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday after he experienced two episodes of fainting in recent public appearances.
Over the past few weeks, some members of his own party, such as Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, have called for his resignation, and inquiries have been made in the media.
McConnell made reference to the letter from the Capitol doctor but declined to go into more detail about the specific medical issue that resulted in the freezing.
“What Dr. Monahan’s report addressed were concerns people have with some things that have happened to me … well, they didn’t. … I have nothing to add to that. I think he pretty well covered the subject,” McConnell told CNN’s Manu Raju.
A reporter then asked McConnell: “What do you say to those who are calling on you to step down? Do you have any plans to retire any time soon?”
“I have no announcements to make on that subject. But what do you say to those who are? I’m going to finish my term as leader and I’m going to finish my Senate term,” the GOP lawmaker said.
Earlier this week, Dr. Brian Monahan, the Capitol physician, released a new update on McConnell following the Kentucky Republican’s latest health scare.
McConnell experienced a momentary pause again during a press conference in Covington, Kentucky, on Wednesday when questioned about his intention to run for re-election in 2026. About a month ago, the same thing happened during his weekly press conference.
But Monahan said that McConnell is not suffering from a seizure disorder and has not had a stroke, according to The Hill.
“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,” Monahan said in a letter that was released by McConnell’s office. “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.”
A number of Republicans said they spoke with McConnell after the latest incident, and he seemed fine.
“He was in good shape. He was direct. He said, you know, I had that concussion and he said, they warned me that I would be lightheaded in the future and that I’ve 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. But he felt good yesterday,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said during a Sunday show appearance.
“Dr. Monahan … who is also my physician there at the Senate — he’s sharp. He says it exactly the way that it is. And if he says, you know, Mitch is ready to go, then Mitch is ready to go,” Rounds added, according to The Hill.
“But Mitch will come back in front of us, and he’ll discuss it with the entire team. He’s been busy. He’s been working around his own state, but he’s also been doing the fundraising that is required of a leader, and I think that’s been a big job for him as well during this break,” Rounds noted further.
Nevertheless, some leading conservatives and Republicans are calling on him to step down, with one 2024 GOP presidential contender suggesting Congress, the president, and other members of the government be subjected to age limits.
Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, said McConnell’s health incidents are a sign of a larger “congressional problem.”
Haley called for “a younger generation” in Congress during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” pointing out Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who is 90 years old, also has health issues.
“At what point do they get it’s time to leave? They need to let a younger generation take over. We want to go and start working for our kids to make sure we have strong national security, to make sure we have a stronger economic policy, to make sure that America is safe. And we can’t do that if these individuals refuse to give up power. This is not just a Republican or Democrat problem. This is a congressional problem. And they’ve got to know when to leave it. It’s time to pass this down to a new generation of conservative leaders that want to take our country to a better place,” Haley said.