Biden says he plans to call McConnell after 2nd freeze at mic

President Biden said Wednesday he plans to call Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after the leader appeared to freeze up while taking questions from reporters.

The incident, which happened in Covington, Ky., is the second time in recent weeks that McConnell has abruptly stopped speaking during a press conference.

“I just heard, literally, coming out. And Mitch is a friend, as you know, not a joke,” Biden said during remarks at the White House on the Hurricane Idalia response. “We have disagreements politically, but he’s a good friend.”

“So, I’m going to try to get in touch with him later this afternoon. I don’t know enough to know,” Biden added.

McConnell, 81, and Biden, 80, served in the Senate together for more than two decades before Biden left to be vice president in 2009.

In response to a reporter asking the president if McConnell should run for reelection, Biden turned to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was flanking him during his remarks, and jokingly asked, “are you running?” 

“I am not, sir,” the secretary replied. “OK,” Biden said and thanked reporters as he walked out of the room.

McConnell froze when he was asked for his thoughts about running for reelection in 2026.

He twice asked the reporter to repeat the question, then responded “that’s a,” before freezing and looking ahead for roughly 30 seconds, according to a video posted by MSNBC on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

A spokesperson for McConnell said the GOP leader “felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today.” The episode comes just a month after McConnell froze up while fielding questions during his weekly press conference in the Capitol.

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