Mitch McConnell Freezes at Press Conference, Has Reportedly Fallen Multiple Times This Year

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has reportedly fallen multiple times this year, in addition to the concussion he suffered in March that resulted in a hospital stay. The news came to light after the 81 year old froze in front of the microphone while speaking to reporters and concerned GOP senators during his weekly press conference on Wednesday. 

The incident and subsequent reports renewed conversations about the age and fitness levels of the highest-ranking politicians and political hopefuls in the U.S. 

On Thursday, Megyn sat down with 2024 Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss Sen. McConnell’s health and why it is time for younger leadership.

McConnell’s Health Concerns

On Wednesday, Sen. McConnell was conducting his weekly news conference with reporters when he seemingly froze. Concerned Republican lawmakers escorted the majority leader away from the press. He later resumed the event and answered questions, though he declined to elaborate on what happened. An aide later said that he was feeling light-headed. 

In the wake of that incident, several news outlets have reported that McConnell has endured at least two falls other than his previously confirmed concussion this year. Back in February, McConnell was part of a U.S. delegation meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki when he lost his balance and fell on a snowy surface. He reportedly brushed himself off and continued to the gathering as planned. 

In March, the majority leader suffered a concussion and broken ribs and was hospitalized for several days after falling at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Washington, DC, where he was attending an event for the Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-aligned super PAC. That took him out of commission for nearly six weeks. 

Earlier this month, sources say McConnell also tripped while getting off a plane at Reagan National Airport in DC. It is believed that he returned to the Capitol later that day. That came on the heels of a June incident in which the majority leader appeared to be unable to hear reporters during a press conference even though other senators around him conversed with the media without issue.

How Old Is Too Old to Serve?

At 81, McConnell is just a few months older than President Joe Biden. The 80 year old president will turn 81 in November. GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump turned 77 in June. DeSantis noted that politics didn’t always operate this way. “You used to kind of serve in your prime and then pass the baton to the next generation,” he noted. “I think this generation has not really been as willing to do that.”

DeSantis is 44 years old, which means, as he noted, Biden was elected to the Senate before he was even born. “Think about how long he’s been around,” he said. “You just watch him and it’s not good for our country to have a president that’s floundering around like that. It doesn’t project strength to our adversaries, it doesn’t inspire confidence in our allies, and I think Americans… want to see a president that they can have confidence in.” Biden’s behavior, he said, does not inspire confidence.

This is one of the reasons he is running for president. “I think the American people… are ready to kind of say, ‘Okay, let’s try the next generation,’” he shared. “We need energy in the executive, we need some vigor, some vitality.”

He said he and his team will be ready to “spit nails starting January 20, 2025,” and they plan to have executive orders written and prepared to sign and “thousands of appointees” ready to send to the Senate for confirmation before entering the White House. “We’re not going to miss a beat, and we’re going to take advantage of every opportunity,” he concluded. “But you’ve got to be vigorous, you’ve got to have energy to be able to do that.” 

You can check out Megyn’s full conversation with Gov. DeSantis by tuning in to episode 597 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.