Mitch McConnell is ‘alive and well,’ is ‘eager’ to return
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is “alive and well,” telling his colleagues Tuesday by phone that he is “eager” to get back to work after suffering a concussion and breaking a rib in a fall.
McConnell, 81, was briefly hospitalized following a March 8 accident at the Waldorf Astoria in Washington, D.C., where he tripped and injured himself at a private dinner event.
The GOP leader, who was released from the hospital on March 13 and has since received in-patient treatment at a rehabilitation clinic, shared the good news about his recovery with fellow Republican senators.
“He sounded like Mitch,” said Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), saying the longest-serving Senate leader wanted to hear “about what’s happening on the floor.”
“He’s anxious to get back,” he added.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said McConnell sounded “eager” to return to the upper chamber.
“He sounded very sharp,” he said. “I think just frustrated, as you might imagine, having to go through all this.”
“I told him not to be in a big hurry, because we’re not doing anything here,” Cornyn also said.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) also said the Republican leader was “alive and well and doing fine.”
But the Republican lawmakers expressed it was unlikely that the minority leader would return before a two-week Easter recess that starts on March 30.
McConnell has reportedly not yet spoken with President Biden or Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about his condition.
The news of McConnell being on the mend comes as the Senate has faced prolonged absences from other members, leaving Democrats vulnerable to close votes in the narrowly divided chamber.
Sens. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) were both hospitalized in the last month for health reasons — depression and shingles, respectively — and have yet to return.
Thune said McConnell’s absence has not stopped the GOP’s legislative efforts, as senators and their staff have been “stepping up” to have “all the bases covered until he gets back.”
McConnell two years ago mocked members of the press for drawing attention to his health, when media outlets ran a series of stories that noted bruising on his face and hands.
“I’m just fine. And I can’t believe y’all have played with that all week long,” he said.
In August 2019, McConnell also had an accidental fall outside his Louisville home, which fractured his shoulder.
Longtime political adviser Josh Holmes told NBC News that McConnell was “doing very well” and had “everything on track.”
Thune also joked that he “did not get into Kentucky Wildcat basketball” with the minority leader.
“That would have been a bad subject to raise,” he said after McConnell’s beloved sixth-seeded team lost to Kansas State in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.