For the second time this summer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared to go blank during a press conference, this time seizing up for nearly half-a-minute after being asked if he would run for re-election in 2026.
In the video, McConnell responds to the question saying, “My thoughts about what?” then chuckles after hearing it repeated.
He then says something unintelligible and stops speaking for eight seconds as someone approaches him to ask if he heard the question.
He says “Yes,” then continues not to speak for another twenty seconds, until he says “OK” as the press conference moves on to another question.
According to reporters, McConnell continued to answer questions afterward.
But it’s the second time an incident with McConnell happened. Back in July, he stopped speaking for 20 seconds before being escorted off and then re-emerging to take more questions.
Viewers on Twitter called it “painful to watch.”
“This is painful to watch … whether it’s McConnell or Feinstein … it should never get to this point where people are deteriorating before our very eyes. Nobody wants to be remembered this way,” wrote pundit Kurt Bardella.
“Can we all agree that people in this condition should not be running our country? And this goes for both sides of the aisle. I’m thinking 70 should be a hard cap, honestly,” added another user.
McConnell’s second episode comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the U.S. aging ruling class, with questions about President Joe Biden and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) fitness for office routinely being raised.
In the first Republican primary, moderators asked whether leaders should be given competency tests as they age, with a number of candidates saying decisions should be left up to voters.
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*First Published: Aug 30, 2023, 12:45 pm CDT
David Covucci is the senior politics and technology editor at the Daily Dot, covering the nexus between Washington and Silicon Valley. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected].