U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was greeted with rapture by party supporters at a high-profile political rally in his home state amid renewed health checks after the 81-year-old MP froze in mid-sentence during a recent press conference at the Capitol. Hill.
“This is my 28th Fancy Farm and I want to assure you it won’t be my last,” McConnell said at the start of his speech at breakfast before the annual picnic, which marks the traditional start of the fall voting season. This was the only reference, albeit ambiguous, to his health.
McConnell, considered by many the chief architect of the Republican Party’s rise to power in Kentucky, arrived to a standing ovation and nominated State Attorney Daniel Cameron, his protégé, who is running for governor this year.
McConnell has been a regular figure on the Fancy Farm scene, where he has long enjoyed competing with the Democrats. His health is receiving increasing attention after he briefly left his own press conference in Washington on July 26, ending in mid-sentence and staring into space for a few seconds. His fellow Republicans behind him took him by the elbows and escorted him back to his office. When he returned to answer questions, McConnell said he was “fine”. When asked if he was still capable of doing his job, he replied, “Yes.”
McConnell was out of the Senate for nearly six weeks earlier this year after he fell and hit his head during an event at a Washington hotel. He was hospitalized for several days and his office later reported that he suffered a head injury and a fractured rib. In recent weeks, his speech has become more slurred, prompting some colleagues to question his health.
McConnell said he plans to serve his term as Republican leader – he was elected to a two-year term in January and is up for re-election to the same post after the 2024 election. McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and has been the Republican leader since 2007 . He is up for re-election to the Senate in 2026.
At Saturday breakfast, McConnell did not discuss national issues or comment on the legal problems of former President Donald Trump. After that, he also did not meet with the press. During his nine-minute speech, McConnell accused the Democrats of “turning their backs on rural America.”