OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A pair of physicians have offered up their opinions as to why they believe Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continues to have “freezing” incidents during press conferences and other events.
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.
On Wednesday, Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News contributor and physician affiliated with New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told the network he believes that McConnell could be suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
“I have to tell you, at the top of that list, and again I haven’t examined him and I don’t have any background on this — except I’ve talked to some people in Congress and in the Senate — would be Parkinson’s disease,” he said.
“That, in its later stages, can give you a freeze,” he added, noting that his staff members had not reacted with alarm.
BREAKING NEWS: Sen. Mitch McConnell appearing to have another scary episode in the media gaggle in Covington today. Aides had to step in to help him out and repeat questions. He was eventually lead away. We'll have the full video on @WLWT pic.twitter.com/q9ex5MHxLV
— Hannah Thomas (@HannahPThomas) August 30, 2023
Meanwhile, neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a CNN contributor, offered a similar explanation though he left open other possibilities during an interview on that network.
“There’s a lot of things that can sort of come to mind,” he said, adding, too, that he noticed McConnell’s staffers had not reacted with much surprise, suggesting that the issue is ongoing.
“Someone who has a Parkinsonian-like condition, for example, whose medications are wearing off, or something like that,” Gupta said. “That’s something that could sort of explain this behavior.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease is a serious degenerative disease in which patients lose control over their nervous system.
MConnell’s office says he plans on continuing to serve as Republican Senate leader through the 2024 elections at least, which has drawn a lot of criticism, even from conservatives.
“Our government is about to begin what are monumental negotiations over the budget and appropriations,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said this week after the latest incident.
“Five men are supposed to play a dominant role in those talks. Biden is 80 years old, Schumer, 72, McConnell, 81,” Ingraham added during her opening monologue on Wednesday.
“And [House Speaker Kevin] McCarthy, Hakeem Jeffries, both in their 50s. Now this means at least two of those five involved in deciding how we spend trillions of our tax dollars, they’re no longer capable of working full time, and both sadly show obvious symptoms of both serious physical and cognitive decline,” she said, likely referring to McConnell and Biden.
Ingraham also highlighted concerns about President Joe Biden’s well-being. Biden has experienced several falls, including one at the Air Force Academy on June 1. He also fell from his bike in June 2022 and encountered stumbles on the steps of Air Force One on two separate occasions. As part of adjustments related to his age, Biden now uses an alternative set of stairs to board Air Force One, among other accommodations.
“Biden is likely compromised not just by his health but by the millions and millions his family has made overseas,” Ingraham charged. “But being corrupt is bad. Being corrupt and senile is even worse.
“And as for Sen. McConnell, he should be at home enjoying his twilight years. He did some really good stuff with Supreme Court nominations, and he should get credit for that,” she added. “But every member of the Republican conference should have compassionately urged him to step aside five weeks ago, which is the last time when this happened. The fact that no one did this to our knowledge is stunning and frankly irresponsible,” she added.