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Video: Mitch McConnell stepping down as Senate Minority Leader

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 28, 2024

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) announced Wednesday that he will step down from his position of leadership in November, allowing “the next generation” to lead Republicans in the Senate.

According to The Associated Press, McConnell, age 82, is the longest-serving Senate leader in U.S. history. McConnell announced his decision to step down from leadership Wednesday while speaking on the Senate floor.

“One of life’s most under-appreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” McConnell said. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

Announcing his plan to step down from leadership, McConnell explained that it is “time for the next generation” to lead the Senate after the 2024 election.

“There will be a new custodian of this great institution next year. As you know, I intend to turn the job over to a Republican majority leader,” McConnell said. “I have full confidence in my conference to choose my replacement and lead our country forward.” 

According to Fox News, McConnell’s decision to step down comes as Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns regarding McConnell’s recent work with Democrats on the bipartisan border legislation. Republicans have also expressed concerns regarding his mental fitness after the Kentucky senator appeared to freeze during two press conferences last year.

While many lawmakers applauded McConnell for his long tenure as a leader in the Senate after the senator’s announcement on Wednesday, other lawmakers suggested that the change in the Republican Party’s leadership should have come sooner.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) tweeted, “I called on McConnell to step down over a year ago. This is good news. But why wait so long – we need new leadership now.”

McConnell also had multiple public disagreements with former President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. During a recent Fox News town hall, Trump said, “I don’t know that I can work with [McConnell].” 

READ MORE: Video: Mitch McConnell freezes mid-speech at podium, escorted away

While McConnell will be stepping down from his role as Senate Minority Leader in November, the Kentucky senator plans on finishing the remainder of his senate term, which will end in January of 2027. Sources close to the senator told Fox News that the senator’s health did not factor into his decision to step down.

“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,” McConnell said Wednesday. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today.”