'Owes the public an explanation': Critics call on Mitch McConnell to retire

'Owes the public an explanation': Critics call on Mitch McConnell to retire
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After the second episode in just five weeks, critics are expressing concern but urging Mitch McConnell to retire after the U.S. Senate Republican Minority Leader once again appeared to "freeze" while talking to reporters on Wednesday, an event The New York Times labeled "alarming."

President Biden told reporters on Wednesday McConnell is a "friend," and he will be calling him.

McConnell has suffered several medical episodes this year, some of which went largely unreported.

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Back in July the 81-year old Republican, who has served the people of Kentucky in various offices since 1975, appeared to freeze for about 20 seconds while at a Senate press conference. He had to be helped to walk away but returned later that day, suggesting nothing was wrong as his fellow Republicans and his aides told reporters he was merely "lightheaded" and "dehydrated." His office issued a statement saying he “plans to serve his full term in the job they overwhelmingly elected him to do.”

On Wednesday, WLWT's Hannah Thomas, reported this statement from McConnell's team: “Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today.”

Earlier, from Georgia, Thomas noted, "Sen. Mitch McConnell appearing to have another scary episode in the media gaggle in Covington today. Aides had to step in to help him out and repeat questions. He was eventually lead away."

The American Independent's senior political reporter Emily Singer, before McConnell's office released a statement similar to the one in July, noted, "McConnell’s office owes the public an explanation of what’s going on with his health. He is clearly not ok."

Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, lumping McConnell's latest episode in with her perceptions of other leaders, said: "Severe aging health issues and/or mental health incompetence in our nation’s leaders MUST be addressed."

"These politician’s staff and family members should be ashamed of themselves by enabling and allowing their loved ones to remain in office all to hold power," she continued. "We are talking about our country’s national security and it’s all at stake!"

Former GOP U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh wrote, "This is sad. Very sad. And I hope his health improves. But just like Diane Feinstein, Mitch McConnell really ought to resign from the Senate. Now."

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Keith Boykin, the former Democratic White House aide and political commentator said, "Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell froze again today in public, this time when asked by a reporter in Kentucky if he planned to run for re-election in 2026. Re-election? He’s 81. This feels like elder abuse to keep him in office. Let him retire."

NBC News' Ryan Nobles, one of the first to report on McConnell's latest apparent health-related incident, adds that McConnell "is expected to see a physician before his next event," according to a spokesperson.

In July, The Washington Post in a rare move spoke with medical experts about McConnell's "freezing" episode.

"Four neurologists interviewed by The Washington Post who reviewed footage of the incident said it could be explained by a range of reasons: dehydration exacerbated by heat, a near-fainting episode, or a partial seizure or stroke. One said it also could suggest an underlying neurological disorder that has not been publicly disclosed," The Post reported. "The specialists stressed that they cannot offer firm conclusions or diagnoses without examining McConnell and reviewing his medical history. They said it was premature to question the longtime Senate GOP leader’s fitness to serve, although they said Wednesday’s episode merited medical attention."

In March McConnell suffered a serious trip and fall incident, and was hospitalized with injuries including a concussion.

In June McConnell had "trouble hearing questions from reporters who could be clearly heard by the senators next to him," CNN reported last month. CNN also reported on a previously unknown trip and fall incident “in Finland when McConnell and a US delegation met with the Finnish president in Helsinki, according to three sources familiar with the matter.”

That incident occurred just days before the trip and fall that led to McConnell being hospitalized for five days with a concussion and rib injury, and out of Washington for six weeks, only returning after a news outlet reported his own Republican leadership team was making plans to find his successor.

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