Republican senator calls for McConnell to retire

 August 4, 2023

A Republican senator is calling on Mitch McConnell to retire after his recent health scare.

The senator, who spoke anonymously, said it would be best for 81-year-old McConnell's legacy if he resigned with dignity.

“I’d hate to see it forced on him. You can do these things with dignity, or it becomes less dignified. And I hope he does it in a dignified way — for his own legacy and reputation.”

Time for Mitch to go?

The senator said McConnell is “intellectually sharp” and “bright on a whole host of issues, including baseball," but he has been less engaged recently.

“But lately … he’s not the go-to guy for ‘How are things going?’ … It’s been noticeable in the last few weeks,” the senator added.

McConnell froze up mid-sentence during a press conference last week, before gathering himself and saying he was "fine."

The incident caused concern about McConnell's health and renewed a debate about age in Washington, where many powerbrokers have been in charge for decades.

Americans learned this week that Democrat Dianne Feinstein - who returned to Washington earlier this year in terrible shape, after months in the hospital - has given her daughter power of attorney. But 90-year-old Feinstein, the oldest member of Congress, has refused to step down before her term ends.

A matter of time....

McConnell has given no indication he intends to step down. He dismissed retirement rumors two years ago, asserting he was "at the top of [his] game."

But a lot can change in two years, especially at McConnell's age. He suffered a fall and concussion earlier this year, and his recent freeze-up was evocative of President Biden, who is clearly fading mentally at age 80.

President Trump, a vocal McConnell critic, called McConnell's freeze-up a "sad thing to see" and suggested it was time for him to call it quits.

“We have to have that,” Trump said, when asked if he wants to see new Senate leadership. “No, we have to have that. We have some people in the Senate that are fantastic and would be great at that position."

McConnell's support is rock solid in the Republican Senate, where he is held with reverence. But some of his allies are privately more concerned about him than they admit publicly.

It's likely just a matter of time before this issue comes up again.

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