GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell hospitalised after fall

A spokesperson said that the Senate Republican leader is under observation after suffering from a concussion.

US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tripped and fell at an event on March 8, 2023, leading to his hospitalisation [File: J Scott Applewhite/AP]

Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican caucus in the United States Senate, has been hospitalised after a fall at a hotel in Washington, DC.

In a statement on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Republican leader said McConnell would remain in the hospital for several days of “observation and treatment”.

The 81-year-old legislator is being treated for a concussion after tripping during a dinner on Wednesday evening for the Senate Leadership Fund, which contributes money to political campaigns in support of the Republican Party.

President Joe Biden wished McConnell a “speedy recovery” over Twitter on Thursday.

McConnell has gained a reputation as a savvy tactician and one of the most powerful figures in US politics, wielding his power to stymie the agendas of his rivals and advance the priorities of conservative groups in areas like the judicial branch.

In 2016, McConnell enraged his Democratic rivals when he refused to consider then-President Barack Obama’s nominee for an empty seat on the Supreme Court. Democrats accused McConnell of obstructionism, and the move helped Republicans achieve their current 6-3 conservative majority at the nation’s highest court.

That majority helped pave the way for events like the court’s decision to roll back abortion rights by overturning

That majority helped pave the way for the court’s decision in June to roll back abortion rights by overturning the precedent set in 1973’s Roe v Wade.

McConnell has sometimes clashed with fellow Republican Donald Trump and pushed back against the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him. McConnell has also helped maintain a consensus on US support for Ukraine, despite dissent from far-right members of his party.

The Republican leader has experienced injuries before, such as when he tripped and fell in 2019 at his home in Kentucky, fracturing his shoulder.

McConnell was first elected in 1984 and became the longest-serving Senate leader this year, surpassing a previous record of 16 years.

“I joined every single one of my colleagues in wishing Leader McConnell a speedy and full recovery,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.

McConnell spokesman David Popp, meanwhile, said that the senator “is grateful to the medical professionals for their care and to his colleagues for their warm wishes”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies