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GOP lawmakers reportedly weighing future of party leadership

Current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's health has been top of mind for Republicans following his two public freeze-ups and a dangerous fall.
GOP lawmakers reportedly weighing future of party leadership
Posted at 12:58 PM, Sep 01, 2023

Two days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's second public freeze-up in a month, Republicans in Congress are now reportedly considering a special meeting to address the future of their party's leadership.

While GOP leaders are not currently involved in the discussions, some rank-and-file members are considering the potential for broader conversations once Congress returns to session next week, according to Politico.

It only takes five Republican senators to prompt a special meeting, which is the most immediate way to raise questions about the 81-year-old minority leader's health. But GOP senators typically hold private lunches a few times a week, offering another pathway for members to shine light on issues.

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Sen. McConnell froze for a second time Wednesday during a gaggle with reporters in Covington, Kentucky, pausing for more than 30 seconds after being asked whether he's considering running for reelection in 2026. An aide then came to McConnell's side and told reporters that they were going to need a minute. 

McConnell seemingly acknowledged that he was OK to continue with the questions, but the aide asked reporters to "speak up." A spokesperson later told Scripps News that the Senate minority leader had felt "momentarily lightheaded."

This is the second time in about a month that McConnell has frozen up on camera. In July, he was speaking with reporters in Washington when he abruptly paused for about 20 seconds before he was escorted away from the cameras. He would later return to the podium to tell reporters that he was fine.

Both of these events come just months after McConnell was hospitalized after tripping and falling at a Washington D.C. hotel in March. His office stated that the senator sustained a minor rib fracture, which required physical therapy. He returned to the Senate in April.

After consulting with McConnell and his neurologists, Congressional physician Dr. Brian Monahan issued a report Thursday, clearing the minority leader to continue on with his duties. While most Republicans in Congress still publicly support McConnell, the repeated health incidents have prompted speculation about whether he will run for reelection, and who might succeed him in Republicans' leadership role should he choose to retire.

McConnell has been in the Senate for nearly 40 years.

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