McConnell Responds After Alarming Episode During Press Conference: 'I Got Sandbagged'


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is apparently trying to brush aside concerns about his health after a bizarre episode Wednesday in which he froze mid-sentence during a news conference and had to be led away.

“No, I’m fine,” the longtime Kentucky senator told CNN after being asked whether the incident was related to a concussion he sustained in a fall earlier this year.

McConnell had been speaking at the Senate Republican leadership news briefing regarding the proposed military spending bill.

“We’re on a path to finishing the [National Defense Authorization Act],” McConnell said in opening his remarks. “This week has been good bipartisan cooperation and a string of a…”

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He continued to stand at the microphone, mouth pressed closed, his body weaving slightly as the awkward silence grew longer and longer. Finally, associates approached and asked if he was all right and suggested he go back to his office.

McConnell, still silent, turned and started to shuffle away.

He later returned and responded to a reporter’s question that he was “fine.”

The reporter followed up, “You’re fine? You’re fully able to do your job?”

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“Yeah,” McConnell replied.

CNN quoted a McConnell aide as saying the 81-year-old senator “felt light headed and stepped away for a moment.”

However, the aide hastened to add, “He came back to handle Q and A, which as everyone observed was sharp,” the aide said.

In a follow-up video posted to social media by Scripps News Service correspondent Nathaniel Reed, McConnell seemed to have recovered.

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He even cracked a joke, saying, “The President called to check up on me and I told him I got sandbagged.” He may have been using the definition of the word “sandbagged,” as in hit or stunned, as if with a sandbag, or he may have been referring to a recent incident when President Joe Biden tripped over a sandbag on a stage and fell down during commencement exercises at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

McConnell disregarded a reporter’s question about whether he had seen a doctor since the incident, the Washington Post reported.

“I’m fine. That’s the important part,” McConnell responded.

McConnell, elected in 1984, is the longest-serving Kentucky senator, according to Politico.

He is up for re-election in 2026, CNN reported, but he “has repeatedly declined to say if he will run for another term or try to run for GOP leader again in the next Congress, which begins in 2025.”

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.