Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Stepping Down

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell | Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that he will be stepping down from his role in November.

McConnell (R-KY), 82, made the announcement on Wednesday on the Senate floor, adding that he is “not going anywhere anytime soon.”

“This will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate,” he said, per NPR. “I will complete my job my colleagues have given me until I complete my term in November.”

McConnell clarified that he will remain in the Senate until his term ends in January 2027, but he will no longer serve as the party’s leader, as reported by The Associated Press.

The senator has served in the U.S. Senate since 1985 and is presently the longest-tenured Senate leader in history and the second longest-tenured current member, just behind Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has been serving since 1981.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” he explained in remarks about his decision, per The AP. 

McConnell said he had prepared to make the announcement and was waiting for “a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work.”

“A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today,” he continued, per The AP.

McConnell’s announcement comes just weeks after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) criticized the minority leader and said: “I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans.”

“Everyone here also supported to [sic] the leadership challenge to Mitch McConnell in November [2022],” added the senator during a press conference alongside Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Eric Schmitt (R-MO), per The Hill.

While it is still unclear who will be selected to succeed McConnell, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the possibility of becoming the next minority leader in 2021 and said that if “there’s an opportunity to do that, I would like to do that.”

“But should he decide to step down and no longer serve as leader, I’ve made it no secret that I would like to succeed him,” he said at the time, according to The Texan.

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