McConnell jokes about freezing up, tells Biden he got ‘sandbagged’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., poked fun at his earlier freeze up at a news conference with Republican leaders on Wednesday evening, joking that he got “sandbagged.”  On his way to the Senate floor, McConnell told reporters that President Biden had called him to check in after his episode earlier that day.  “The president called to check on me. I told him I got sandbagged,” McConnell said, making reference to Biden’s tumble last month during the commencement ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The White House said at the time the president tripped and fell over a sandbag and that he was not injured.  Reporters asked McConnell how he was doing and whether he intends to see a doctor after he had to step away from the podium Wednesday. “I’m fine,” McConnell repeatedly insisted.  MCCONNELL FREEZES UP DURING PRESS CONFERENCE, LATER SAYS ‘I’M FINE’ “Gotta watch those sandbags,” he added as he left for the Senate floor. McConnell, 81, appeared to freeze up in front of news cameras Wednesday afternoon following the weekly Senate GOP luncheon.  “Good afternoon, everyone. We’re on a path to finishing the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) this week, there’s been good bipartisan cooperation and a string of …” McConnell said, before trailing off and staring blankly for nearly a minute before colleagues intervened. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., a doctor, eventually stepped in to ask if he was alright. McConnell was then led aside as Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., stepped up to speak to reporters about the one-year anniversary of the Democrat-led Inflation Reduction Act passage.  UNLIKELY GROUP OF SENATE REPUBLICANS TEAM UP ON AMENDMENT TO AUDIT UKRAINE SPENDING IN DEFENSE BILL McConnell returned to the press conference about 10 minutes later to finish speaking with reporters, answering their questions. “I’m fine,” he said when asked about his health.  A McConnell aide told Fox News that the senator “felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment. He came back to handle Q and A, which as everyone observed was sharp.” The incident alarmed several of McConnell’s senate colleagues, who expressed concerns for his health and wished him well. MITCH MCCONNELL DISCHARGED FROM PHYSICAL THERAPY AFTER CONCUSSION TREATMENT “My prayers are with him. That obviously was concerning. I hope it was just a momentary issue and that he’s doing better,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas told Politico. “Mitch is strong as hell and stubborn as a mule. I have every hope that he will fight back from any health issues and fully recover.” Other GOP senators made similar comments and reiterated their support for McConnell to continue as GOP leader.  Earlier this year, McConnell, 81, suffered a concussion and fractured rib from a fall in a Washington hotel and spent time in recovery in an inpatient rehabilitation facility before returning to the Senate.  “I said I was concerned when he fell and hit his head a number of months ago and was hospitalized,” Barrasso told reporters after Wednesday’s episode. “And I think he’s made a remarkable recovery. He’s doing a great job leading our conference, and he was able to answer every question that the press asked him today. And you may note he answered more questions than he normally does.” Fox News’ Jamie Joseph and Kelly Phares contributed to this report.
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