The Senate Majority Leader running for re-election, Mitch McConnell, shocked the internet on Wednesday when a photo of him picking up his mask from the ground went viral. In the photo, you can see both of his hands (but especially his right hand) are so bruised, they look dark purple. He also has bandages on both hands, and what appears to be some kind of wound on his right hand. Today, Politico reporter John Bresnahan asked if he had a health issue. "Everyone been's talking about your hands," he told the 78-year-old.
Is Mitch McConnell ill?
McConnell has repeatedly told reporters that he's not sick, even though the bruising and bandages were clearly visible this morning on C-SPAN when McConnell took the Senate floor. A CNN reported also asked if everything was "okay" and if there were "concerns," to which McConnell replied that there were "no concerns." Medical Twitter suggests that his hand looks like that because a doctor had a tough time finding a vein for a blood draw. One Twitter user pointed out that it looked like the result of blood thinners and trauma of some kind, but not an illness.
"Nah. Blood pooled in that hand. That’s from either trauma + blood thinners or trauma + gravity. Considering how old he is, I would bet blood thinners and a fall. Probably reached out and caught himself with his right hand and banged his face in the process," @amdugg tweeted.
Some seem to think that McConnell, is, in fact, sick. And that he's being secretive about it because we're so close to the election. "Looking at 10/15 pics of his face v. 10/20 he looks sick. He’s had IV therapy hence one of the bandaids and his L hand is swollen likely from fluids infiltrating his tissue. The poor color is concerning. He does not look well," someone tweeted.
Others have pointed that his face doesn't look too hot, either. This photo from a BBC article shows slightly blotches above his lips and discoloration under he eyes.
Hopefully we get some answers soon. While it may serve in McConnell's self-interest to not disclose serious health concerns, as someone who works for the U.S. government, it's still expected that that he be honest about it. "It's understandable that Senator McConnell might not want to discuss questions about his health so close to an election. But as Senate Majority Leader, he is a public figure which requires more disclosure and transparency than just the average private person," Marisa McNee, a spokesperson for Kentucky Democratic Party, said.
However, there are no states that make it illegal for government officials to decide not to be open about their current health issues, and HIPAA still applies to them, so even if a reporter were to go to McConnell's doctor, the doctor could not, by law, reveal anything about the state of his health. In the most recent photos of him, McConnell has his hand in his pocket, away from view.
"It's not clear why he's suddenly become so secretive, but we certainly wish him well and hope he is okay," McNee stated.