Joe Biden directly addressed reporters’ questions about Mitch McConnell on Thursday, saying his longtime friend sounded like “his old self” during a telephone call and suggesting that a concussion the Senate minority leader suffered in March was to blame for a pair of public “freezing” incidents that have led to intensified discussion about the age and mental acumen of the nation’s elected leaders.
Biden was at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday, taking questions from reporters in a press conference carried by MSNBC when he was asked whether he had spoken with McConnell since a second “freezing” incident made headlines earlier this week.
“Yes I have — I spoke to Mitch, he’s a friend,” Biden said, after talking about the federal government’s response to Hurricane Idalia. “I spoke to him today, and you know, he was his old self on the telephone.”
Reporter: Do you have any concerns about McConnell’s ability to do his job?
Biden: No, I don't. pic.twitter.com/lTqSGBsVx2
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 31, 2023
Biden passingly referenced his own experience with brain surgery, speaking about an aneurism he suffered in 1988 that required two separate surgeries to repair.
“Having a little understanding of dealing with neurosurgeons — one of the leading women on my staff, her husband’s a neurosurgeon as well — it’s not at all unusual to have a response that sometimes happens to Mitch when you’ve had a severe concussion. It’s part of recovery,” Biden said.
The Kentucky senator was treated for a concussion in March after a fall during a dinner event at the Waldorf Astoria in Washington. He was hospitalized for observation for a few days following the trip-and-fall that precipitated the injury.
“I’m confident he’s gonna be back to his old self,” Biden concluded.
When reporters asked whether Biden thought the lingering effects would have any impact on McConnell’s ability to do his job going forward, Biden said: “I don’t.”
The president then diverted the inquiries, saying “You want to talk to me about the economy…” before trailing off.
Watch the entire exchange in the video above, captured and posted by X user @Acyn.