Mitch McConnell jeered with calls to retire

August 8, 2023

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was met with jeers and calls to retire at an event in Kentucky on Saturday. 

The chaotic scene at the Fancy Farms picnic transpired weeks after McConnell alarmed the country by freezing up during a press conference.

McConnell, 81, ignored the jeers, which went on for the entire five minutes of his remarks.

McConnell shouted down

McConnell laced his speech with barbs directed at the Democratic party's record and Kentucky governor Andy Beshear (D), who is facing re-election this year against attorney general Daniel Cameron (R), a McConnell ally.

"Biden and Beshear aren't working for Kentucky. Andy might as well be on the White House payroll," McConnell said.

The senator caused concern weeks ago when he suddenly stopped talking during a press conference. But he delivered his remarks at Fancy Farm without any noticeable difficulty, even as the crowd chanted "retire!" and "lost the Senate."

While many of the hecklers appeared to be Democrats, it's likely that some were on the right.

McConnell has long been a bogeyman of the left, but his establishment ties have also made him an unpopular figure on the populist right. Former President Trump - who is enemies with McConnell - weighed in to signal his agreement with the crowd.

“I AGREE!” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social. "BOOOOO — RETIRE, RETIRE, RETIRE — BOOOOOO!!!”

McConnell responds

Later, McConnell's office said the scene was nothing out of the ordinary for Fancy Farm, which is often a rowdy event marked by partisan jabs.

"It wouldn’t be Fancy Farm if Democrats weren’t heckling every Republican and vice versa — it’s been a very spirited event for decades," McConnell said.

In any case, the "retire" chants reflect a popular, fairly bi-partisan sentiment that McConnell, like many leaders in Washington, is too old for his job and should step aside.

McConnell has been leading the Republican Senate since 2007 and has solidified a reputation among Senate Republicans as an august leader.

Despite the pressure for him to call it quits, the senator has given no indication he plans to do so, and his allies in the Republican Senate have stood by him.

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