Mitch McConnell Will Step Down As Senate Republican Leader In November

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
Font Size:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will step down as Senate Republican leader in November.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” McConnell said Wednesday in prepared remarks first obtained by The Associated Press (AP). “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: GOP Civil War Deepens As Senators Claim McConnell Threw Party’s Voters ‘Under The Bus’ On Ukraine, Border)

McConnell said he will serve out his Senate term, which ends in January 2027, “albeit from a different seat in the chamber.”

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 28: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs the Senate chamber on February 28, 2024 in Washington, DC. McConnell announced Wednesday that he would step down as Republican leader in November. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

“As I have been thinking about when I would deliver some news to the Senate, I always imagined a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work,” McConnell continued. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘This Is Our Opportunity’ — Top GOP Senators Game McConnell’s Ouster After Botched Border Deal)


McConnell has been facing ongoing criticism in recent months after pro-Ukraine hawks within his conference gave away their leverage by voting to send billions more in aid to Ukraine despite not reaching a border security deal. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Sound Off On Leaked Border Deal Proposals, Say They Will Absolutely Not Vote For Them)

Republicans, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson were particularly critical of McConnell’s leadership.

“I cannot even believe how badly McConnell blew this,” Johnson told the Caller. “McConnell frittered away the leverage we have in the Senate.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 19: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters following the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. McConnell predicted that National Defense Authorization Act will “pass on a pretty strong bipartisan basis” at the end of the amendment process. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 06: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at a news conference after a weekly policy luncheon with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 06, 2024 in Washington, DC. During the news conference Republican senators spoke of how they believe the bipartisan Senate immigration bill does not have a chance of passage in the House of Representatives. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 27: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters following the weekly Senate Republican caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on February 27, 2024 in Washington, DC. McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) met with President Joe Biden at the White House earlier in the day to talk about funding for Ukraine and avoiding a partial federal government shutdown later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The reason so many of us are speaking out the way we are against McConnell was the way he blew this. It’s historic. It was a monumental blunder, debacle. We don’t appreciate it,” he added.

“I think this is our opportunity to take him out, and we’re sort of working to figure out if that’s possible. I think that there’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem where I think you probably have the votes, but you need somebody to step forward and that person’s that unwilling to step forward unless you have the votes, it can’t just be a Mike and Ted and a sort of everybody who hates Mitch thing,” one Republican senator, who was granted anonymity to speak freely without worry of retaliation from leadership, told the Caller.

“You obviously have to get kind of the middle of the conference. So that’s all being worked on behind the scenes. And I think, frankly, how this vote works out will help determine whether the conference, broadly speaking, is willing to go in that direction.”

McConnell is the longest-serving party leader of all time in the Senate and has been serving in the Senate since 1984. According to Real Clear Politics, McConnell is rated Americans’ most disliked political leader with favorability ratings that are worse than President Joe Biden’s.

“I still have enough gas in my tank to thoroughly disappoint my critics, and I intend to do so with all the enthusiasm with which they’ve become accustomed,” McConnell said in his speech on the Senate floor.