Mitch McConnell’s health scares raise questions about his future as Senate GOP leader

Mitch McConnell’s health scares raise questions about his future as Senate GOP leader

A press conference on Wednesday, July 26 raised questions about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Kentucky) health when he suddenly quit speaking during the middle of a sentence. The 81-year-old McConnell was led away from the lectern by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) but returned to the conference after about ten minutes and addressed reporters again.

The July 26 conference came several months after McConnell was hospitalized because of a fall. Barrasso, according to Axios, told reporters he has been "concerned" about the Senate minority leader but said McConnell's health has not grown worse.

McConnell enjoyed a decisive reelection victory in Kentucky in 2020 when he defeated centrist Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, and he isn't up for reelection until 2026. But McConnell's health scare, according to Axios' Zachary Basu, has been raising questions about a possible replacement for him as GOP leader in the U.S. Senate. Barrasso, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), Basu notes, have all been mentioned as possible replacements.

READ MORE: Mitch McConnell defends Clarence Thomas

Cornyn told Axios, "I'll support Sen. McConnell as long as he wants to remain as leader."

First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984, McConnell has his critics on both the left and the right. Democrats still resent McConnell for blocking President Barack Obama's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland (now U.S. attorney general), in 2016 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. But MAGA Republicans resent McConnell for his criticism of former President Donald Trump, who he blames for the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. McConnell avoids talking about Trump, but he is obviously hoping someone else will be the GOP's 2024 presidential nominee.

READ MORE: Mitch McConnell 'not confident' GOP can retake Senate in 2024: report

Read Axios' full report at this link.

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