Jul 28, 2023 - Politics & Policy

McConnell plans to serve out term as GOP leader after freeze-up

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will serve out his full term leading Senate Republicans, his office said in a statement on Friday.

Why it matters: The pronouncement comes after the 81-year-old Kentuckian stood silently for roughly 20 seconds during a press conference on Wednesday, creating renewed concerns about his health.

  • After being escorted back to his office by his GOP leadership deputies, he later returned and told reporters he was "fine" before taking questions.
  • A spokesperson said at the time he "felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment," noting that "everyone observed [his Q&A] as sharp."

What they're saying: "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," a McConnell spokesperson told Axios.

The context: In November, McConnell defeated Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the former chair of the Senate GOP's campaign arm, to serve as Republican leader through 2024.

  • The lopsided 37-10 vote was the first contested leadership election McConnell had faced since he first ascended to the role in 2007.
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