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Sen. Ernst Commends McConnell’s Strong Leadership and Successful Senate GOP Fundraising, Tells Newsmax

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “is doing quite well” after concerns emerged about his health after he froze for a second time while addressing reporters in his home state last week, saying that he has singlehandedly raised more money in the last month for Senate GOP candidates.

“He seems quite well actually, other than those two episodes that have been documented. He is responding quite well,” Ernst said during “Wake Up America” Thursday. “I was in the leadership meeting with him the other evening, and he was clear as a bell as he was addressing the concerns with the upcoming continuing resolution on appropriations bills, [on] how we move through the rest of this year.”

McConnell appeared to freeze up during a press conference in Covington, Kentucky, on Aug. 30, just a month after a similar pause during a news conference in Washington, D.C., the New York Times reported.

“I have consulted with Leader McConnell and conferred with his neurology team,” the Times reported Congress attending physician Dr. Brian P. Monahan saying in a brief statement that was made public by McConnell’s office on Sept. 5. “After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned.”

The two incidents have led some to call for McConnell, 81, to step down from his Senate seat, which is not up for election again until 2026.

Ernst said, however, that McConnell appears to be “sharp as a bell” since returning to Washington this week and spent his time during the recess raising money for the party’s Senate candidates.

“[McConnell] also detailed for us how he spent his time over the August recess. He was quite active and engaged, raising money for Senate colleagues,” she said. “So, he seems to be doing quite well. We wish him the best, and as you just stated, he was fully cleared by the senior physician.”

Ernst said McConnell was a fundraising “force to reckon with,” raising the most money for Senate Republicans in any single month.

She said that his fundraising ability for the party is “part” of the reason Republicans want to keep McConnell where he is.

“It is not the entire picture, but [fundraising is] a significant part of his duties as the leader,” she said. “And when people question his duties as the minority leader in the Senate, a large portion of that is being able to raise the dollars from those major donors across the United States. He still was very sharp, though. I will reiterate that just what I witnessed in our leadership meeting is that he was able to walk us through quite clearly what he envisioned for the rest of the year.”


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Charles Kim

Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.

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