What Do Mitch McConnell's Silent Episodes Tell Us? : Consider This from NPR For the second time this summer the top Republican in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, abruptly went silent at a news conference.

He was about to answer a question from a reporter when he suddenly froze up. He seemed unable to speak. An aide then stepped in, trying to keep things moving along.

The senator's silences have raised concerns about his mental fitness – and larger questions about an aging Congress.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Dr. Ann Murray, the Movement Disorders division chief at the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute at West Virginia University.

What Do Mitch McConnell's Silent Episodes Tell Us?

What Do Mitch McConnell's Silent Episodes Tell Us?

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leaves his office at the U.S. Capitol July 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. The 81-year-old Senate minority leader had a pair of unusual episodes during news conferences in July and August when he froze up and was briefly unable to talk at the podium. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leaves his office at the U.S. Capitol July 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. The 81-year-old Senate minority leader had a pair of unusual episodes during news conferences in July and August when he froze up and was briefly unable to talk at the podium.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

For the second time this summer the top Republican in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, abruptly went silent at a news conference.

He was about to answer a question from a reporter when he suddenly froze up. He seemed unable to speak. An aide then stepped in, trying to keep things moving along.

The senator's silences have raised concerns about his mental fitness – and larger questions about an aging Congress.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Dr. Ann Murray, the Movement Disorders division chief at the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute at West Virginia University.

This episode was produced by Linah Mohammad and Kira Wakeam. It was edited by Adam Raney and Patrick Jarenwattananon. Our executive producer is Sami Yenigun.