Mitch McConnell looks stunned in the Capitol building

No Really, What Is Wrong With Mitch McConnell and Can He Be Forced Into Retiring?

Another moment, frozen in time.

Ok, maybe forced is a strong word. But Senator Mitch McConnell has had another scary incident. While speaking to reporters at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Government Forum, he seemed to freeze up again, rendering him unable to respond to questions.

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In videos from the event, we see McConnell looking completely frozen after a reporter asks him about running for re-election in 2026. He looked away and then down, with his mouth clenched, unable to speak. One of his aides asks if he heard the question and then tells reporters that they would need a minute. Another person, perhaps an aid, steps up to check on the senator. After some moments, he is able to say “okay” and seems to have regained some awareness.

Even aside from that frozen moment, the event itself doesn’t show McConnell in a healthy light at all. The aide continuously repeats the questions to him. Now, I do not know if he has a hearing issue or if this is a comprehension problem, or both. We all remember the video from July depicting a very similar situation: Him at a microphone, speaking to reporters, and then suddenly he is no longer is able to speak. After about 30 seconds of silence, he was taken away from the podium with no explanation given. This drew sympathy from some, with calls for resignation from others. And I agree.

This is the picture of a man who is incapable of doing the job of being a U.S. Senator. I have often felt like being a politician, at least a half-involved one, is very strenuous. I find myself wondering if I even would have the stamina to do it! Then we see people like McConnell, of such advanced age, and apparently in such troubling health conditions, and I know that there is no way he is able to do all of what is required. 

Can he be made to retire? He should choose to retire if he had the best interest of the country and himself in mind, though of course we all know that’s never been McConnell’s top priority. He should be spending his remaining years protecting his health and being with his family. His horrible political views aside, this man is not well. There really aren’t competency requirements for being a senator, so that doesn’t seem like an avenue to take. But where is his family? Or the staff that provides guidance to him? Surely there are people who can persuade him to peacefully and respectfully bow out of politics. He must have at least one or two people who have been with him awhile who can see clearly what is going on.

Many are already concerned about the elevated age of the average politician, particularly in the U.S. Senate. While I think this is a problem, some blame has to be put on voters. People have real choices in elections. Is there not anyone who can challenge McConnell? Why do people keep voting for him? And why do both parties keep backing these same clearly incompetent candidates?

While the political aspect of this is one thing, the pure human aspect of it is another. As much as I dislike most of what McConnell has stood for over his tenure in office, he is still a human being. Watching him struggle on a more common basis, to even do normal functions like speaking, is very hard. My mother has a history of strokes. I have seen her freeze like this, commonly during transient ischemic attacks. They usually don’t last very long but are still scary. She has had to have speech therapy. But her issues are more so in the speech realm than the cognitive and comprehension realm. Meaning, she can understand what is going on but sometimes she cannot make her mouth move as quickly as her brain. I am not a doctor but I am curious to know what is fully happening with McConnell. If he is just having speech issues, like Senator Fetterman, that is not as severe as having deficiencies in his ability to understand what is going on. But either way, he is not presenting himself well to the public. For the sake of our nation and for him and his personal life, he should step down.

(featured image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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