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Sen. McConnell appears to freeze again at event in Northern Kentucky

a woman stands next to senator mcconnell as he seems to stare off in the distance
McConnell's aide stepped in after he didn't respond to a reporter's question following the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Government Forum on Aug. 30, 2023.

For the second time in the past few weeks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze while taking questions from the media and required help from his staff to respond to questions.

During the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Government Forum, McConnell, 81, spoke for about 20 minutes on things like the infrastructure bill and the Brent Spence Bridge project before answering questions from reporters. McConnell was asked if he'd consider running for reelection once his term expires. McConnell said he had trouble hearing the question, but once it was repeated, he stood silent for 30 seconds before a staff member jumped in.

"Did you hear the question, senator? Running for reelection in 2026?" the aide said. After not receiving a response, she said, "Alright, I'm sorry you all, we're going to need a minute."

After another pause, McConnell responded to two more questions before leaving the event.

Below is video of the moment from our news partner WCPO:

WVXU reached out to McConnell's office for a response and was told, "Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today."

McConnell also froze in July during a news conference in Washington, D.C., telling reporters after stepping away for a bit that he was "fine."

That incident sparked concern and speculation about McConnell's health, but his fellow Republicans at the time voiced support for him and his continued leadership.

If McConnell were to step away from the Senate, under Kentucky's new system, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear would appoint a replacement from a list provided by Republicans.

Updated: August 30, 2023 at 3:07 PM EDT
Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.