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Facing health issues, McConnell pledges to complete term ending in 2027

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday dismissed questions about his retirement, promising to fulfill his term as Republican leader and senator from Kentucky.

“I have no announcement to make on that,” he told reporters when asked if he plans to retire anytime soon. “I’m going to finish my term as leader and I’m going to finish my term in the Senate.”

McConnell has a two-year term as GOP leader, expiring after the 2024 election. His term as senator expires in January 2027.

The remarks came during McConnell’s first press conference since returning to Washington, and a week after the second of two apparent freezes he had while speaking to reporters, which sparked new questions about the health of the 81-year-old senator.

McConnell faced many questions about what happened to him in those cases and what his diagnosis is, and each time referred to a letter from Capitol attending physician Brian Monahan, who wrote that he didn’t there is “no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or have had a seizure disorder”. a stroke, a TIA or a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease. McConnell’s office released the letter on Tuesday and he highlighted it on Wednesday.

“I think Dr. Monahan has covered it all. You’ve had a chance to read it. I have nothing to add to it,” McConnell said. “And I think that should answer any reasonable question.”

McConnell opened the press conference by touting his support for continued US aid to Ukraine under upcoming funding legislation, saying he hoped his colleagues would agree with him.

After McConnell’s GOP leadership press conference, Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R.S.D., a McConnell ally and potential successor, said he wasn’t sure if the Kentucky Republican would remain leader. of the GOP until 2025 and 2026.

“I don’t…I mean, it’s far from it,” Thune told reporters. “Right now we’re just trying to go week-by-week and make sure everything works out at the end of the fiscal year, which is a few weeks ahead of us.”

McConnell addressed his recent health issues at the GOP’s weekly closed-door luncheon earlier Wednesday afternoon. He spoke for about eight minutes on the subject and did not take any questions from his colleagues, said Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.

Braun said McConnell said “nothing new to what we already knew.” … He looked more lively, in good shape and said he had a clean bill to keep going.

Senators continued to rally around McConnell, and most expressed no concerns about his ability to serve as leader.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who opposed McConnell for the term, was one of the few who said he was “concerned” about McConnell’s health. He again argued for term limits in the Senate, but would not say that McConnell’s medical issues preclude him from serving as leader.

McConnell’s remarks about her health were followed by an unrelated presentation on fundraising and abortion, according to several senators present at the luncheon.

Hawley said it was “clear” McConnell’s team wanted to change the subject. “No one had the opportunity to converse or ask questions,” he said.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who unsuccessfully issued a leadership challenge to McConnell several months ago, maintained he had “no concerns” about McConnell’s ability to serve. “I think he did a good job,” Scott said of the leader’s remarks to his colleagues.

After McConnell’s comments, his top political adviser touted the leader’s record fundraising — nearly $50 million raised during the month of August from groups directly aligned with the GOP leader.

Next, Republican senators were treated to a presentation on abortion polls; McConnell’s team shared that since the Supreme Court ruling overturning the nation’s abortion rights, voters no longer agree with the term “pro-life” and don’t know what it means, said the senators.


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