McConnell Stepping Down as Senate GOP Leader

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is planning to step down as the Senate Republican leader.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” McConnell said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

The Senate GOP leader noted he will complete his term, which ends in January 2027, “from a different seat in the chamber.”

“As I have been thinking about when I would deliver some news to the Senate, I always imagined a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work,” he said. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today.”

McConnell, 82, is the longest-serving Senate leader in history.

“I am unconflicted about the good within our country and the irreplaceable role we play as the leader of the free world,” he added.

The news comes as McConnell suffered several health scares throughout 2023.

In March 2023, McConnell was hospitalized after falling at a hotel in Washington D.C. A spokesperson for McConnell confirmed the incident, stating that the 81-year-old had “tripped at a local hotel during a private dinner” and was “receiving treatment” at a hospital.

In July, the Senate Minority leader froze during a press conference, staring blankly in front of him. The almost 20-second situation concerned his colleagues, who asked if he was okay.

A similar incident occurred in August, when McConnell began to respond to a reporter but stopped mid-sentence, staying silent for an estimated 30 seconds. As he paused, an aide approached the senator, asking, “did you hear the question, senator, running for reelection in 2026?”

McConnell’s reply was unintelligible.