United States Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in the hospital after falling at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Washington, D.C. A spokesperson said the 81-year-old McConnell tripped while attending a private dinner on Wednesday and was receiving treatment. According to The Washington Post, the event was for the Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-aligned super PAC.
Elected to the Senate in 1984, the Kentucky Republican is the chamber’s longest-serving GOP leader. He is in the midst of his seventh term. He was voted party whip in 2002 and first became Senate minority leader in 2006 and majority leader in 2014.
Why McConnell’s Injury is Significant
Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota told The Hill on Thursday he had “very limited information” on McConnell’s condition. It is unclear if the fall will keep him out of the Senate for any significant amount of time. The Democrats hold a very slim 51–49 majority in the chamber after the 2022 midterm elections.
McConnell’s legislative skills have hindered many past Democratic initiatives, according to Reuters. McConnell notably opposed then-President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package in 2009 and health insurance reform package, known as Obamacare, in 2010.
McConnell’s Past Health Issues
This is McConnell’s second significant fall in under four years. In August 2019, he tripped on his Kentucky home’s patio and fractured his shoulder. His surgery and subsequent recovery kept him out of the public eye for weeks.
In October 2020, McConnell worked on Capitol Hill with bandages and notable bruises on his hands. When questioned, he told reporters there were “no concerns” about his health.
The senator, who overcame polio as a child, also has a history of heart issues and underwent triple bypass surgery in 2003.
Other Recently Hospitalized Senators
McConnell is the third senator in recent weeks to be admitted to the hospital.
Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke during his 2022 campaign, was treated on February 9 after feeling lightheaded. A few days later, the 53-year-old Democrat checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to receive treatment for clinical depression.
California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, 89, is recovering at home after receiving treatment in the hospital for shingles earlier this month.
Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.