Mike Rounds says McConnell is “perfectly capable” of being GOP leader despite episodes being frozen


Sen. Mike Rounds (RS.D.) on Sunday said Mitch McConnell was “quite capable” of staying on as Senate minority leader after experiencing a second frozen episode last week.

Rounds said it was up to McConnell to decide how to respond to the two public incidents with his conference and the American people.

“But there’s no doubt in my mind that at this stage of the game he’s perfectly capable of continuing,” said Rounds said CNN’s State of the Union. “And he has a good team around him. He has done a good job developing this leadership team.”

Rounds added that McConnell explained the episodes were a result of the concussion he sustained earlier in the year while the two were speaking on Saturday afternoon.

“They warned me that going forward I would be groggy and that I need to be aware of it,” Rounds recalled when McConnell told him. “He said, ‘It happened twice.'”

McConnell froze in mid-sentence and appeared unable to start again during a July news conference on Capitol Hill. He was led away by staff but returned to the podium a few minutes later.

Last week, McConnell experienced a similar episode before reporters in Kentucky when he appeared unable to answer a question about a 2026 re-election.

The US Capitol’s attending physician gave McConnell permission to return to work, writing that “occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in convalescence recovery and is also to be expected as a result of dehydration.”

McConnell has reportedly done so ever since spoken to his allies in the Senate to reassure them.

While most Republicans supported him, the editors of the conservative National Review called for his resignation.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said that while McConnell has made significant contributions to the GOP, “you have to know when to leave.”

McConnell, 81, suffered a concussion and a minor fracture of a rib in March after falling at an event in Washington. After about six weeks he returned to the Senate. reportedly too experience two more falls, the first in Helsinki and another at a Washington airport.

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