Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly stopped speaking in the middle of a sentence during his weekly news conference from Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
He was then removed from the microphone, but returned later.
“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…”
The leader of the minority did not finish his sentence.
The 81-year-old McConnell then appeared unstable on his feet, prompting Iowa Senator Joni Ernst to place her palm on his back.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso then approached McConnell and asked, “Is there anything else you want to say or should you just go back to your office?”
He muttered “No” and then left the podium.
McConnell returned to the news conference later.
UPDATE: McConnell is back at the presser. pic.twitter.com/hrAdKXpAVX
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 26, 2023
A reporter asked him, “Could you address what happened here at the start of the press conference and was it related to your injury from earlier this year where you suffered a concussion?”
“I’m fine,” McConnell answered with a weak voice.
The reporter followed up, “You’re fully able to do your job?”
“Yeah,” the Kentucky senator said.
Q: "Could you address what happened here at the start of the press conference and was it related to your injury from earlier this year where you suffered a concussion?"
Sen. McConnell: "I'm fine."
Q: "You're fine? You're fully able to do your job?"
McConnell: "Yeah." pic.twitter.com/Can1RtzqmM
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 26, 2023
McConnell was discharged from a rehabilitation facility in late March, where he had been for more than a week following a concussion-causing accident, according to NBC News.
“The Republican leader tripped and fell March 8 after an event for the Senate Leadership Fund — a Republican super PAC aligned with McConnell and GOP leadership — at the Waldorf Astoria in Washington,” the news outlet said.
He was released on March 13.
In January, Politico reported that McConnell eclipsed the record for the longest-serving party leader in the Senate, surpassing former Montana Senator Mike Mansfield, who held the position for 16 years.