"Looks like a seizure": Rand Paul says Capitol doctor's McConnell diagnosis is "inadequate"

Kentucky's other senator, who has a medical degree, doesn't think Mitch's freeze-ups were caused by dehydration

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published September 6, 2023 11:14AM (EDT)

Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he disagrees with Dr. Brian Monahan, the U.S. Capitol attending physician, who concluded that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also of Kentucky, had not suffered from a stroke or seizure disorder following two dramatic incidents in which McConnell apparently froze during public appearances and was unable to speak. In a letter released by McConnell's office on Tuesday, Monahan wrote, "There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA or movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease."

The 81-year-old McConnell was evaluated by neurologists, including electrical and brain MRI imaging, after the second such incident occurred last week in Covington, Kentucky. The perception that McConnell may be unwell has ignited speculation about the senator's future and whether he can continue as leader of the 49 Republicans in the U.S. Senate. 

Paul, who is a licensed ophthalmologist with a medical degree from Duke University, appeared to reject Monahan's stated opinion that McConnell's recent problems could be chalked up to dehydration, telling reporters that was "an inadequate explanation" and "not a valid medical diagnosis." Paul continued, "It doesn't look like dehydration to me. It looks like a focal neurologic event. That doesn't mean it's incapacitating, it doesn't mean he can't serve, but it means that somebody ought to wake up and say, 'Wow! This looks like a seizure.'"