U.S. Sen. Mullin: Leader McConnell ‘won’t talk’ about health issue

Oklahoma’s junior U.S. senator shares views during Yukon visit

U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin speaks to Canadian County constituents and local leaders during an Aug. 31st community coffee hosted by Trinity Baptist Church-Yukon, 620 N Cemetery Road. Mullin addressed a wide range of issues, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Associate Editor

In a visit to Yukon this week, Oklahoma’s junior U.S. senator said he wished Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would talk about the issue that has caused him to freeze during two recent press conferences.

“It is his health, but he’s not having strokes,” said U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin, R-Oklahoma. “He had polio when he was younger.”

McConnell was bed-ridden for two years as a young child, and it was feared he wouldn’t be able to walk. But he survived the disabling and life-threatening disease.

Mitch McConnell

“This year, that polio started coming back – and that happens to a lot of people; it starts affecting your spinal cord and nerves,” Mullin shared during an Aug. 31st community coffee hosted by Trinity Baptist Church-Yukon.

“I don’t know why he won’t talk about this.”

During a 55-minute Thursday morning talk in Yukon, freshman Sen. Mullin said he and fellow Republican McConnell disagree on some issues (like supporting Donald Trump for president) – but they “get along really well”.

Mullin has tremendous respect for Kentucky’s senior senator.

When McConnell’s polio conditions flare up, it affects his spine and his body locks up.

“It’s just excruciating, but he’s such a private person,” said Mullin, who joined the 100-member U.S. Senate in January. “That’s what you got to respect about the guy. He doesn’t make an excuse.

“He’s tough as nails. And he will not talk about it.”

Sen. Mullin said he even offered to appear on national television to explain the situation to the “American people” who may think McConnell is incompetent due to neurological issues.

“He’s actually really sharp-minded,” Mullin pointed out during his Canadian County visit – which included stops in Mustang and El Reno.

After McConnell froze during a press conference for the second time in a month, a Capitol physician linked McConnell’s momentary lapse to a prior concussion.



McConnell, 81, suddenly appeared disoriented and stopped speaking while taking questions from reporters on Wednesday in Kentucky.

A month earlier, he had stopped speaking in the middle of a press conference in Washington, D.C. before being whisked away by colleagues.

Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician for the U.S. Congress, consulted with McConnell and his neurology team after the latest incident.

Monahan medically cleared the Republican Senate leader for work on Thursday.

“Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” according to an Aug. 31st note from Monahan.

Besides his concussion, McConnell reportedly fractured a rib and fell two other times this year.

Some senators have considered forcing a special conference meeting to address McConnell’s health in a private setting.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden told MSNBC he is not concerned at the moment about McConnell’s ability to do his job.

Read more about Sen. Mullin’s Aug. 31st visit to Canadian County in upcoming print and online editions of The Yukon Progress.