Mitch McConnell, the head of the Senate’s Republican party, tripped and sustained a concussion on Wednesday. He is anticipated to spend several days in the hospital, according to a spokesman for the senator. The 81-year-old senator from Kentucky tripped while at a private dinner. He was brought to a medical facility for treatment.
“Leader McConnell tripped at a dinner event Wednesday evening and has been admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a concussion. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days of observation and treatment,” spokesman David Popp said Thursday. “The Leader is grateful to the medical professionals for their care and to his colleagues for their warm wishes.“
The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC McConnell founded to support the election of Republicans to the Senate, hosted a reception and a separate private dinner on Wednesday night. McConnell attended both events. He made his debut at the Waldorf Astoria’s Franklin Room ballroom and then hosted a second dinner there for the PAC’s biggest donors.
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Last autumn, the Senate Leadership Fund spent over $170 million on advertising in the last months of the most important U.S. Senate races, including those in Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
One guest at the reception informed CBS News that McConnell was there “was good, walking around” and thanking donors before making a statement to the gathering.
According to President Biden, who has spoken to Senator McConnell’s family, the senator will be OK. Republican senators on Capitol Hill expressed hope that McConnell will quickly recover fully and rejoin the Senate.
“He’s going to be fine. He’s going to be observed, you know, concussion protocol. I expect a full recovery,” Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming told reporters. “He’s awake talking to people.”
The GOP leader fractured his shoulder in 2019 after tripping and falling at his Kentucky home. He had surgery at the time to fix the fracture in his shoulder. He worked from home for a few weeks as he healed as the Senate had just begun its summer break.
When the new Congress opened in January, McConnell, first elected in 1984, surpassed the previous mark of 16 years to become the Senate’s longest-serving leader. From 2015 until 2021, he served as Senate majority leader. In 2021, he switched to minority leader, which he still holds today.
The reserved McConnell avoids talking about his personal life a lot. The COVID-19 crisis, however, was when he first spoke out about his early life battle with polio. He talked about how as a young child, his mother demanded that he stay off his feet and worked with him through an aggressive physical therapy program. He has admitted that ascending stairs has become more challenging as an adult.
BREAKING: Mitch McConnell hospitalized after fall at DC hotel. It’s not yet very clear how he fell. pic.twitter.com/mFfRDLv9rF
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 9, 2023
Some senators have recently been absent from the 65-year-old Senate due to illness. Sen. John Fetterman, a Democrat, suffered a stroke while running for office last year and was anticipated to be gone for a few weeks while receiving treatment for mental depression. Moreover, California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 90, said last week that she had been hospitalized to be treated for shingles.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, has found the Democratic absences challenging to manage given his already precarious 51-49 majority.
As the minority party, the Republicans have had difficulty dealing with sporadic absences. If McConnell is absent on Thursday, it is unknown whether that will affect the scheduled votes. The second-ranking Republican in the Senate is Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.