McConnell Announces Upcoming Retirement as Republican Leader: ‘It’s Time for the Next Generation of Leadership’

U.S. Senate

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will step down from his leadership position later this year, he announced Wednesday on the Senate floor, saying “Father Time remains undefeated” and “it’s time for the next generation of leadership.”

McConnell, already the longest serving Senate party leader in history, will step down at the end of this Congress in early January 2025.

“I turned 82 last week,” a noticeably exhausted McConnell told the Senate Chamber. “The end of my contributions are closer than I prefer.”

WATCH — Exclusive – Donald Trump: Mitch McConnell Health Problems “Sad,” He Should Step Down:

Matthew Perdie / Breitbart News, Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News

McConnell reminisced “with deep appreciation” about the days after his 1985 arrival in the Senate (although he said 1984 in his speech), acknowledging those years “helped shape (his) view of the world” while acknowledging he is now out of place.

The Senate veteran said he remains “unconflicted about the good within our country, and the irreplaceable role we play as the leader of the free world. It’s why I worked so hard to get the national security package passed earlier this month.”

The fight earlier in February over that foreign aid and pro-migration package — which failed to achieve majority support among Senate Republicans — highlighted McConnell’s increasingly out-of-step position among Republican Senators and voters. McConnell partnered with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to prioritize the package over overwhelming opposition inside his party.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pose for a photo at the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2023, in Washington, DC. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

“Believe me, I know the politics within my party at this particular moment in time,” McConnell said. “I have many faults. Misunderstanding politics is not one of them.”

“But now it’s 2024. As Ecclesiastes tells us, to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven,” he continued. “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, Mr. President and my colleagues, to say this will be my last term as Republican leader.”

McConnell’s health problems have added to scrutiny of his ongoing leadership. In addition to falls and unexplained bruising, on two occasions within the past year he froze before crowds and cameras, unable to move or speak for a half minute or so and requiring colleagues to help him slowly shuffle away.

WATCH — Mitch McConnell Freezes Mid-Speech, Led Away from Podium:


Regardless of questions about his health, McConnell pledged to continue to serve out his Senate term, which expires in January 2027, when he will be 85 years old.

“I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I’ll complete my job my colleagues have given me until we select a new leader in November and they take the helm next January. I’ll finish the job that the people of Kentucky hired me to do as well, albeit from a different seat. And I’m actually looking forward to that.”

While McConnell’s resignation will meet with approval by some of his colleagues, his timeline might not. “Why wait so long?” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked. “We need new leadership now.”

Yet McConnell appears determined to remain atop Republican leadership through the November elections, and will probably be able to do so. Senate Republicans will huddle after those elections to choose new leadership for the next Congress.

“I still have enough gas in my tank to thoroughly disappoint my critics,” he said. “And I intend to do so with all the enthusiasm with which they’ve become accustomed.”

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.


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