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McConnell "plans to serve his full term" as Republican leader, spokesman says

McConnell freezes during news conference
McConnell freezes during news conference, raising concerns over his health 02:02

Washington — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to serve his full term at the helm of the Republican conference, a spokesperson for the Kentucky senator said, dispelling questions about McConell's future after he froze mid-sentence for several seconds during a press conference earlier this week.

The spokesperson told CBS News that McConnell, 81, "appreciates the continued support of his colleagues, and plans to serve his full term in the job they overwhelmingly elected him to do." The statement was first provided to Politico.

Speculation about McConnell's health and future as the Senate's Republican leader sparked after he stopped for more than 15 seconds while delivering opening remarks to reporters on Wednesday. Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican and orthopedic surgeon, escorted McConnell away briefly after asking if he was all right. The minority leader returned shortly after and said he was "fine."

An aide to McConnell later said he felt light-headed and stepped away. President Biden called the senator to check on him, and he said he told the president "I got sandbagged," a reference to when Mr. Biden tripped over a sandbag during the U.S. Air Force Academy's commencement ceremony last month.

GOP senators have continued to express support for McConnell in his position as the Republican leader, to which he was elected in November after fending off a leadership challenge from Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the first since he was selected for the role in 2007. His victory over Scott made him the longest-serving Senate leader in history with the start of the new Congress in January.

McConnell was elected to represent Kentucky in the Senate for a seventh term in November 2020. That six-year term will end in January 2027.

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