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Rounds: McConnell Still Concussed, Needs to Hydrate, But Sharp, Shrewd

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has frozen twice in front of the cameras this summer. But South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds remains fully confident that McConnell is up to the job of representing Kentucky and leading Republicans in the United States Senate:

Dana Bash, CNN: I do want to start with Leader McConnell, that scary moment where we saw — as I mentioned, where we saw him freeze again in public.

You said that you do expect him to be straightforward and level with the Republican Conference when you all get back this coming week. What questions — do you have for him?

Senator Mike Rounds: I spoke with Mitch yesterday afternoon and told him I was going to be doing an interview, and I wanted to personally touch base with him before I did that.

And he was in good shape. He was direct. He said he fell. He said: “I had that concussion.” And he said: “They warned me that I would be lightheaded in the future and that I have got to be aware of it.” He said: “It happened twice.” He said: “It just so happens I’m doing it in front of reporters.”

But he felt good yesterday. He said he’s got to watch his hydration levels.

Dr. Monahan, who is also my physician there at the Senate, he’s sharp. He says it exactly the way that it is. And if he says that Mitch is ready to go, then Mitch is ready to go. But Mitch will come back in front of us, and he will discuss it with the entire team. He’s been busy. He’s been working around his own state.

But he’s also been doing the fund-raising that is required of a leader. And I think that’s been a big job for him as well during this break.

Bash: So — so he told you that it was a result of the concussion that he had. Did he give you any more information? And does he need to be more clear, not just with your conference when you all meet this coming week, but with the American public, particularly his constituents in Kentucky?

Rounds: Mitch is sharp, and he is shrewd. He understands what needs to be done.

I will leave it up to him as to how he wants to discuss that with American public. But there’s no doubt in my mind that he is perfectly capable of continuing on at this stage of the game. And he’s got a good team around him. He’s done a good job of developing that leadership team. They have been supportive of him.

During the time in which he was out of the center for a while, the team did a great job.

Bash: Yes.

Rounds: My seatmate, John Thune here in South Dakota, picked up the reins and worked it well. And he had a great team around him as well.

So I’m not worried about that at all. We have got a good team in place, and Mitch is there, and I think Mitch will be able to answer any questions that may come up.

Bash: So you’re comfortable with him staying on as leader?

Rounds: Oh, yes, no question.

And, look, there’s a lot of folks out there that would like to see him go, but that’s because he is a very capable leader. And he’s one of these kind of guys that, if you could take him out of the leadership role in advance, you might end up in a better position if you were a competitor of his.

But on the Republican side, we all understand that he’s good. He’s good for our party. He sees the long road ahead. He looks a long ways ahead. And when all the rest of us are sitting back, he’s the guy that takes the spears and the arrows, so that we don’t have to.

So, no, he’s the right guy, the right spot.

Bash: OK.

Rounds: And at this stage of the game, I think he will continue on [CNN: State of the Union, transcript, 2023.09.03].

I’m glad Senator Rounds is willing to take signs of advancing age and incapacity off the table as a discussion point. Octogenarianism is not to be discussed as a disqualifying characteristic for elected officials.


  1. larry kurtz 2023-09-04

    Mitch will be there until he dies because Kentucky’s governor is a Democrat who could appoint someone who isn’t a member of Mike Rounds’ party of Earth haters.

  2. Loren 2023-09-04

    Yes, don’t worry because, “Heeeeere’s Johnnie!” We all saw how Johnnie reacted when Mitch had his first freeze. He stood in his favorite photo op position and looked for someone else to DO SOMETHING!

  3. John 2023-09-04

    No one ought to be operating this nation from the executive, congressional, and judicial branches who is too old to qualify as a commercial airline passenger pilot. Those pilot folks are retired by law because science shows measurable cognitive declines in judgment, recall, memory, computation, in addition to eyesight, hearing, and motor skills. I’m in that metric. It’s hard to move over and move on. Anyone who’s honest, who’s cared for geriatric parents or grandparents knows of the declines. One has to draw the line somewhere and raw age is a good of a marker that we are able to glean from present statistics. If a better scientific marker is available, then adopt and enforce that. Rounds is papering over McConnell’s threat to US governance and his own slow decline. It appears that Pelosi is and was the only adult in the room when she volunteered to step aside as the democrats US House leader.

  4. Bob Newland 2023-09-04

    Mitch is not a problem when he is saying NOTHING.

  5. e platypus onion 2023-09-04

    Tennessee magat Marsha Blackheart-burn claims Biden is senile while McCTurtlefartface is at the top of his game. More delusional, deplorable despicable magats.

  6. Dicta 2023-09-04

    Mitch: retire
    Feinstein: retire

    Politicians or marionettes, who can really tell?

  7. Loren 2023-09-04

    Had to laugh at John’s comment. Can you imagine if your pilot froze up like Mitch and the airline said they were just going to throw little water on him and he’d be good as new? Can you imagine booking with that carrier again? Uh…, ya, thought so! ;-)

  8. grudznick 2023-09-04

    Mr. McConnell is shrewed?

  9. larry kurtz 2023-09-04

    It reads like Wyoming’s John Bare Asso will be senate minority leader ahead of Johnnie Loony Tunes.

  10. Arlo Blundt 2023-09-04

    Senator McConnell is having difficulty staying upright, vertical to the Universe. He falls down. It happens as we age. Biden is unsteady and has to watch his step. It is time both of them wandered down the long hallway of history and took a seat as an observer. Biden seems to be in better shape but both are over 80. Time to let the others do the job.

  11. All Mammal 2023-09-04

    The whole thing reminds me of Weekend at Bernie’s.

  12. e platypus onion 2023-09-04

    McCTurtlefartface had frozen rwice, that have been reported. Who knows what goes on behind closed congressional doors besides wild orgies and boozefests.

  13. e platypus onion 2023-09-04

    ps Tuesday brings the start of Texass AG Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial. Be good deal to write off Paxton and drumpf in back to back trials. Life would be considered good.

  14. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-09-04

    Yep, McConnell is as sharp and shrewd as that drooling old fool Strom Thurmond was. It’s a pity that old coffin dodger didn’t die seventy years ago.

  15. Algebra 2023-09-04

    In the event a vacancy occurs, Kentucky law requires the Governor to appoint one of three nominees chosen by the party of the outgoing senator. Mr Kurtz, consider yourself corrected.

    How did the concussion occur in the first place? Did he have a syncopal episode or loss of balance which caused him to fall and hit his head? Or was it an accident, unrelated to any medical condition? It matters because falling and hitting your head for no external reason indicates something is going wrong, whereas having a concussion as a result of an accident, a sports injury or car crash, for example, can result in a
    seizure disorder without any loss of cognitive function. He could be having petit mal seizures. Or maybe he is having transient ischemic attacks..

  16. Arlo Blundt 2023-09-04

    I think you’re on the right track Algebra….look like petit mal to me

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