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Mitch McConnell to step down as Republican leader in the US Senate in November

Photo: Mark Schiefelbein Associated Press Mitch McConnell walks in front of reporters after announcing Wednesday that his current term will be his last.

Camille Camdessus – Agence France-Presse in Washington

2:00 p.m.

  • United States

Undisputed leader of the Republicans in the Senate, veteran of American politics and ardent defender of aid to Ukraine, Mitch McConnell created a surprise on Wednesday by announcing that he would leave office in November.

“I stand before you today […] to tell you that this mandate will be my last as leader of the Republicans,” declared the 82-year-old elected official during a speech to Congress.

This surprise speech was greeted with standing ovations from elected officials from both sides in the hemicycle of the upper house.

Mitch McConnell, however, has not said whether he will leave his post as senator from Kentucky, which he has held since 1985.

Leader of the Republicans in the Senate since 2015, this fine connoisseur of the mysteries of power found himself on the front line of the fight against the policies of the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama (2009-2017 ), but also to support Donald Trump, who came to power in January 2017.

For years he greedily claimed the nickname “Gravedigger,” accustomed to burying the hopes of his Democratic adversaries. In the upper house of Congress, he worked hard to promote a conservative agenda, including the appointment of Supreme Court justices who in 2022 overturned the constitutional protection of abortion.

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Aid to Ukraine

In recent years, this patient negotiator in the shadows has also distinguished himself as one of the greatest defenders of American aid to Kiev, forced to deal with a party shaken up by Donald Trump and espousing positions of increasingly isolationist.

This radical change has been obvious in recent weeks, with the blocking of an envelope of 60 billion dollars for Ukraine, at war with Russia since February 2022.

With his old-fashioned suits that look like they came from a 1970s wardrobe, he has always cultivated an austere, even rustic image that is matched only by his reputation as a political strategist.

Under the presidency of Joe Biden, a man he worked alongside for years in the Senate, he also worked on the passage of several major projects supported by both parties.

For several months, however, concerns had been raised about the state of health of the Republican leader, victim in the summer of two long periods of absence in one month.

In March, the octogenarian senator was hospitalized after a fall during a private dinner, which left him with a concussion, a broken rib and nearly six weeks off work.

The episode immediately revived criticism against the aging of the American political class, sometimes described as a gerontocracy.

Despite this, Mitch McConnell categorically refused to resign.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116