In one such image, McConnell is bending down to pick up a dropped face mask. His right hand appears to be much darker than the rest of his body, and his thumb is bandaged. A bandage can also be seen on his left hand, which appears to bear some slight discoloration.
— (((Lizzy Ratner))) (@lizzyratner) October 21, 2020
When asked on Thursday by Politico reporter John Bresnahan if he was having any health troubles, McConnell declined to provide any clarifications.
"Do you have some kind of health issue?" Bresnahan asked, BuzzFeed News reported. "Everyone’s been talking about your hands."
"I've been worried about your health, Bres. How are you feeling?" McConnell retorted, using the reporter's nickname.
"But I'm serious, is there anything going on we should know about?" Bresnahan asked once again.
"Of course not," replied McConnell.
McConnell has also refused to answer reporters’ questions on if he’s being treated by a doctor.
McConnell's health may be of significance in Kentucky, where early voting began on October 13 and McConnell is running for reelection against Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, a retired US Marine Corps fighter pilot.
"It's understandable that Senator McConnell might not want to discuss questions about his health so close to an election," Marisa McNee, a spokesperson for Kentucky Democratic Party, told BuzzFeed.
"But as Senate Majority Leader, he is a public figure which requires more disclosure and transparency than just the average private person,” McNee added.
McConnell did not appear to have any bruising on his hands during a debate in Lexington, Kentucky, on October 12, the Courier-Journal reported.
This is not the first time the senator has refused to directly answer questions about his personal health.
Earlier this month, after US President Donald Trump and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) confirmed they had tested positive for COVID-19, McConnell refused to reveal when he had last been tested for the novel coronavirus.
"Have I ever been tested? Yes," he told reporters, the Courier-Journal reported. "But I'm not going to answer questions about when."
According to an article by Snopes, which confirmed that the photos of McConnell’s hands circulating on the internet are real, there are many theories as to the cause of the discoloration, from claims he has contracted to COVID-19, to the possibility that he has a vascular disease, is undergoing dialysis or is taking blood thinners, which can lead to easy bruising.
No further evidence beyond the photos has been provided to support any of those theories.