Mitch McConnell to step down as US Senate Republican leader

28 February 2024, 17:59 | Updated: 28 February 2024, 18:12

Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Mitch McConnell will step down as Republican leader of the US Senate in November.

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Mr McConnell, 82, was the Republican leader in the Senate from 2007, and has been one of the most significant figures in American politics over the past 20 years.

He said in a prepared statement on Wednesday: "One of life's most under-appreciated talents is to know when it's time to move on to life's next chapter.

"So I stand before you today... to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate."

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Mitch McConnell on Wednesday
Mitch McConnell on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

He added: "I love the Senate. It has been my life.

"There may be more distinguished members of this body throughout our history, but I doubt there are any with more admiration for it.

"Father Time remains undefeated. I am no longer the young man sitting in the back, hoping colleagues would remember my name. It is time for the next generation of leadership."

Mr McConnell intends to remain a Senator in Kentucky until the end of his term in 2007.

Questions were raised about his age and fitness in July last year after a video gained traction that appeared to show him 'freezing' in the middle of a sentence.

He 'froze' again while answering another question last August.

Mr McConnell has been a key powerbroker in US politics in recent years, frustrating Democrats on many occasions. He has also been important to getting Republican priorities into law. He fell out with Donald Trump in recent years.

He dedicated some of Wednesday's speech announcing his retirement to emphasising the importance of US global leadership.

Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell. Picture: Getty

He said: I know the politics within my party at this particular moment in time. I have many faults, but misunderstanding politics is not one.

"That said, I believe more strongly than ever that America's global leadership is essential to preserving the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan discussed."

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