Dr. Marc Siegel, a medical contributor for Fox News, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, provided their professional opinions regarding the recent freezing episode involving Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). They offered insights into the potential underlying health condition that may have contributed to this event.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Senator McConnell, who is 81 years old, froze up with a blank look on his face for over 30 seconds. This episode was the second occurrence of such a freezing-up within a span of slightly over a month.
During an episode of The Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News, Siegel made an observation regarding McConnell’s condition, stating that although he had not conducted a personal examination, his professional speculation would lean towards Parkinson’s disease. “Would be Parkinson’s disease because that, in its later stages, can give you a freeze.”
According to Siegel:
“It can also explain why no one around him in these freezes is panicking and saying, ‘This could be a stroke. This could be a seizure.’ It could be those things too, by the way, but again, then you would rush him into immediate treatment and analysis. You’d do an MRI, you would do an EEG to see if it could be a seizure, but if it’s Parkinson’s, you already know about that and somebody diagnosed that clinically by doing an examination, and treatment helps by the way.”
He further expressed, “Again, I’m not saying that’s what it is, but I think what’s really striking here is that alarm bells didn’t immediately go off among medical personnel around,” before concluding, “If he has latter stages of a neurological disease, I would think that he would consider stepping down.”
During an interview on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Gupta also discussed the potential occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.
“There’s a long list of possibilities here. I think what we saw was pretty concerning. I think most people could see that.” According to Gupta, “It was similar to what we saw in July where there was this freezing. It’s the freezing of the speech, it’s the freezing of the body, it’s the tight sort of grasping of the side of the lectern.”
He further stated, “His face even has this mask-like feature to it. So there’s a lot of things that are going on there.”
Gupta posited that McConnell’s condition might have been attributable to a seizure or a comparable medical event, “It could be something like when somebody comes off of their medications for things like Parkinson’s. When the medication start to wear off, they may start to have freezing episodes as well.”
Similar to Siegel, Gupta observed that “One of the things that was really noticeable to me is that when his aides approached him, they did not seem so surprised by this. While we’ve seen it a couple of times, you got the impression that this happens much more often. They didn’t seem particularly alarmed by it.”
He finished by saying, “If it was the first time or an unknown thing, I think there probably would have been more of a rush or an interest at least in getting him to a doctor more quickly.”
Early this month, McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, was not receiving much love from people in his own state, who booed him and yelled “RETIRE” and “DITCH MITCH” as he talked at a community gathering in Kentucky over the weekend.
At the 143rd yearly Fancy Farm picnic, a summer tradition in Kentucky since 1881, McConnell was speaking, and sometimes he was entirely drowned out by the booing and mocking with the embarrassing experience captured on camera.
The 81-year-old professional politician persisted despite the audience’s disapproval.
The 81-year-old congressman remarked, “This is my 28th Fancy Farm and I want to assure you it is not my last. The people of this state have chosen me seven times to do this job, and I want you to know how grateful I am.”
The yearly celebration is sponsored by St. Jerome, a nearby Catholic church, and takes place at Fancy Farm, a small town in the southwest of the state.
“So, we know that the political speaking attracts folks from all over the state of Kentucky to the Picnic but it’s the 19,000 pounds of BBQ that makes our picnic special. We once held the Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest One Day Picnic and BBQ. You won’t find any better BBQ pork and mutton anywhere,” the church’s website claims.
Former President Donald Trump, who released a video of the boos to his Truth Social platform, has frequently criticized McConnell.
“I AGREE!” Trump penned in a hilarious post. “BOOOOO—RETIRE, RETIRE, RETIRE—BOOOOO!!!”