Mitch McConnell vows to 'serve his full term' despite health scares: report
A Wednesday, July 26 press conference has been raising questions about the health of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
During the gathering, the 81-year-old Republican suddenly quit speaking in the middle of a sentence. McConnell was led away by his ally, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), but he returned after about ten minutes and addressed reporters again.
Earlier this year, McConnell suffered a concussion after falling and needed to be hospitalized. But according to Politico's Burgess Everett, McConnell's office is insisting that he plans to serve out the rest of his six-year term. The Kentucky Republican, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984, isn't up for reelection until 2026.
A McConnell spokesperson told Politico, "Leader McConnell appreciates the continued support of his colleagues, and plans to serve his full term in the job they overwhelmingly elected him to do."
Nonetheless, Everett notes that some Senate Republicans are "very informally and privately gaming out how and when they would transition to a new leader."
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) told Politico, "He comes out, loses his train of thought. And everybody's asking: 'What are you going to do about it? He'll know when it's time. He's not going to put our caucus in harm's way. If he didn't think he can do it, I'm sure he'll make that decision."
But another Republican senator, interviewed on condition of anonymity, told Politico that "the next leadership election" among Senate Republicans "is well underway."
Three McConnell allies said to be possibilities for Senate majority leader in the future are Barrasso, Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
McConnell has his critics on both the left and the right. Many Democrats still resent him for blocking President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland (now attorney general) for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. But MAGA Republicans resent McConnell because of the bad blood between him and former President Donald Trump, who he blames for the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. Trump has repeatedly called for McConnell to be replaced as GOP leader in the Senate.
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Politico's full report is available at this link.
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