Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell addressed his colleagues behind closed doors on Wednesday about his health, telling them that his cognitive ability is not impaired and saying that he intends to stay atop the conference he has led for the past 16 years.
McConnell, 81, went into “great detail” about what happened when he froze twice and the extensive tests he had conducted – and said he had “no cognitive issues,” according to GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
“He said he has no reason to not to continue as leader,” Johnson said. “He’s perfectly capable.”
McConnell told his conference he had helped his outside groups raise nearly $50 million to fund their efforts to take back the majority.
During the lunch, McConnell went over his health history and said he was given a “clean bill of health” by doctors, according to Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana. McConnell told members he has only experienced freezing episodes twice – and they both happened to be in front of cameras.
Kennedy and Johnson said no one asked questions and then they moved on to other topics.
McConnell addressed his conference for about five minutes and several senators said they were satisfied with his explanation following the freezing incident.
“I was satisfied,” GOP Sen. Todd Young of Indiana said.
GOP Sen. Rand Paul, McConnell’s fellow Kentuckian who has been skeptical of his explanation, declined to comment.
“I don’t like to go into personal conversations in our conference,” he said.
Last week, McConnell froze for about 30 seconds while speaking with reporters after a speech in Covington, Kentucky. The incident was similar to an episode McConnell experienced at the US Capitol in July. On Tuesday, the Capitol’s attending physician, Brian Monahan, said in a letter that there is no evidence McConnell has a seizure disorder – or that he experienced a stroke or a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease – after the Kentuckian was evaluated by a group of neurologists following the two recent health scares.