Viral photos show McConnell lifting a face mask, revealing that his right hand is much darker than the rest of his body, as well as a bandaged thumb.
Mitch McConnell, the 78-year-old Senate majority leader who is currently running for re-election, denies any health problems, despite photos showing his arm bandaged and severely discolored.
On Wednesday, the photos went viral on McConnell, who bent down to pick up a fallen face mask on Capitol Hill the day before, revealing his right hand, which is much darker than the rest of his body and that his thumb is bandaged.
McConnell’s office did not respond to numerous requests for comment from BuzzFeed News about the health of the top Republican in the Senate, who is scheduled to be re-elected in Kentucky in less than two weeks.
Asked by a reporter on Thursday about his health and concerned photos of his arm, McConnell said he had a problem.
“Do you have a health problem?” Politico reporter John Bresnahan asked. “Everyone so far is talking about your hands.”
“I was worried about your health, Bress. How are you feeling?” McConnell replied, using the reporter’s nickname.
“But I’m serious, is something going on that we need to know about?” Bresnahan asked.
“Of course not,” McConnell said.
However, the discoloration and dressings were still somewhat visible in the C-SPAN video, in which McConnell spoke on the Senate floor on Thursday morning.
McConnell’s health may be a pressing issue for voters in Kentucky, where early voting began on October 13.
“Understandably, Senator McConnell may not want to discuss his health so close to the election,” said Marisa McNee, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party in Kentucky. “But as the leader of the Senate majority, he is a public figure who demands more disclosure and transparency than the average private.”
McNee also noted that in the past, McConnell spoke openly about his medical care, having undergone surgery after a shoulder fracture.
“It’s not clear why he suddenly became so secretive, but we certainly wish him well and hope he’s well,” McNee said.
In most photos taken at McConnell in recent days, he is shown with his right hand hidden in his suit pocket.
But numerous photos taken this week show McConnell’s discolored hand.
During a televised debate earlier this month with his opponent, Amy McGrath, 45, McConnell’s hands looked normal.
In recent weeks, the health of aging politicians in the country has come under sharp focus, especially after President Donald Trump, 74, was hospitalized for several days and received experimental drug treatments after positive tests for COVID-19.
If elected president, Joe Biden will become the oldest man to ever lead the nation, at 77 years old.
At the beginning of this Congress in 2018, the average age of a U.S. senator was 61.8 years. They are “among the oldest in US history,” according to an analysis by the Congressional Research Service.
McConnell presides over a Senate, which includes a number of octogenars, and is currently working to confirm Amy Connie Barrett, 48, for a life sentence on the Supreme Court less than two weeks after the election. Earlier, McConnell accused former President Barack Obama of nominating a judge in court in the last year of his presidency. On Thursday, Republicans on the Senate Justice Committee voted to approve Judge Barrett’s nomination to the court. Democrats boycotted the vote, calling it “illegitimate”, but the vote to finalize her nomination will take place on Monday.
Concerns were recently raised about Diane Feinstein’s ability because of her age – the California senator is 87 years old – during hearings for a new appointee to SCOTUS, where she is the top Democrat on the judiciary.
When other senators were asked if they believed her age affected her work, Politico quoted Senator Chuck Grassley as saying, “She is only three months older than me and I have not announced that I am not running for re-election.”