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Senator Mike Rounds Expresses Confidence in McConnell’s Leadership Amid Health Concerns

In a recent interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) voiced his support for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, stating that McConnell is “perfectly capable” of continuing in his leadership role despite experiencing a second frozen episode last week.

Rounds acknowledged that the decision of how to address the incidents would ultimately be up to McConnell himself, as well as how he wants to communicate with his conference and the American people. However, Rounds expressed confidence in McConnell’s ability to navigate these challenges, highlighting the strong team he has built around him.

During a conversation with Rounds on Saturday afternoon, McConnell explained that the frozen episodes were a result of the concussion he suffered earlier this year. McConnell shared that he had been warned about potential lightheadedness in the future and the need to be aware of it. Rounds recalled McConnell saying, “It happened twice.”

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The first incident occurred during a press conference on Capitol Hill in July, where McConnell froze mid-sentence and appeared unable to continue speaking. He was escorted away by staff but returned to the podium a few minutes later.

Last week, McConnell experienced a similar episode in Kentucky when he struggled to respond to a question about his plans for reelection in 2026.

Following these incidents, the U.S. Capitol attending physician cleared McConnell to return to work, explaining that occasional lightheadedness is common during concussion recovery and can also be expected due to dehydration.

McConnell has taken steps to reassure his allies in the Senate, addressing any concerns they may have. While most Republicans have stood by him, the editors of the conservative magazine National Review have called for him to step down.

Even Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, while acknowledging McConnell’s significant contributions to the GOP, emphasized the importance of knowing when to leave.

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It is worth noting that McConnell, who is 81 years old, suffered a concussion and a minor rib fracture in March after falling at an event in Washington. After a recovery period of approximately six weeks, he returned to the Senate. McConnell has also reportedly experienced two additional falls, one in Helsinki and another at a Washington airport.

As McConnell continues to lead the Senate Republicans, his health concerns have raised questions about his ability to fulfill his duties effectively. However, supporters like Senator Rounds believe that McConnell’s experience and leadership qualities make him capable of continuing in his role.

The coming weeks will be crucial for McConnell as he navigates these health challenges while managing the Senate’s legislative agenda. The support he receives from his colleagues and the American people will play a significant role in determining the future of his leadership.

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In conclusion, Senator Mike Rounds has expressed confidence in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to continue leading despite recent health concerns. While McConnell’s frozen episodes have raised questions, his explanations and the backing of his fellow Republicans suggest that he will remain in his position. As McConnell addresses these challenges, his leadership and decision-making will be closely observed by both his party and the public.

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