The 81-year-old leader of the US Senate’s opposition Republicans was recovering from concussion in hospital Thursday after falling at a fundraiser at a Washington hotel, his office said.
Mitch McConnell had delivered remarks at a Senate Leadership Fund dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, formerly the Trump International, before he lost his footing, according to fellow senators and his spokesman David Popp.
“He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days of observation and treatment. The leader is grateful to the medical professionals for their care and to his colleagues for their warm wishes,” Popp said in a statement.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat, led well wishers in hoping for McConnell’s “speedy recovery” and said he looked forward to seeing the six-term senator from Kentucky back on the Senate floor.
The wily McConnell, a patient and skilled backroom negotiator, is the longest serving Senate party leader in history, having served at the top of his party in the upper chamber of Congress for 16 years.
While the Republicans were in charge before 2020, McConnell took pride in calling himself the “Grim Reaper” — killing Democratic legislation before it could ever get anywhere near the White House to be signed into law.
McConnell, who suffered from polio as a child and was first elected to the Senate in 1984, is known for the careful, deliberate cadence of his speeches, delivered in the slow, southern drawl of his native Alabama.
During his last Senate campaign he sold “Grim Reaper” T-shirts on his website describing himself as “the guy who is going to make sure that socialism doesn’t land on the president’s desk.”