The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a letter Tuesday in which Congress’ attending physician effectively gave him a clean bill of health following his latest medical episode, during which he temporarily froze up during a press conference last week.
Dr. Brian Monahan said he conducted several evaluations of McConnell following the episode, including a brain MRI, an EEG study, and consultations with several neurologists.
“There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA, or movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease," Monahan said, using the acronym for transient ischemic attack, a stroke lasting several minutes.
"There are no changes recommended in treatment protocols as you continue recovery from the March 2023 fall," Monahan concluded.
Everything's fine, apparently. Where have we heard that before?
McConnell’s public release of the doctor’s note seems like a classic tutorial in gaslighting the public—don't believe your own two eyes, just trust us, it's all good.
Does everything look fine to you?
The question McConnell froze on last week was from a reporter seeking his thoughts on running for reelection in 2026. McConnell chuckled briefly, as if germinating a response. He then fell silent before aides swooped in to run interference. Another question looming for McConnell is whether he will continue to lead his conference, which holds leadership elections at the beginning of each Congress.
Whatever is going on with McConnell, one thing seems clear: He and his allies aren't being fully transparent about his current health, and perhaps the extent of his original injury related to the fall he took earlier this year.
He's had two public episodes of freezing up during routine press conferences, to say nothing of what might be happening in private.
The letter his office released Tuesday reeks of diversion—an attempt to buy time. Until what or when remains an open question. But McConnell’s most immediate test will be whether he is able to keep a grip on his conference, where some conversations are reportedly already brewing. If Senate Republicans conclude they want or need new leadership sooner than the beginning of 2025, then questions about McConnell’s fitness to complete his term through 2027 will take center stage.
Trump’s continuing legal problems, the car crash of a Republican debate, and the polling numbers defy the traditional media’s narrative that the Republican Party is even above water with voters.