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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be on the verge of early retirement following a fall this month that left him with a severe concussion and potential serious brain damage, according to a Tuesday report.
“The Republican bigshot, 81, banged his brain in a terrible March 9 tumble at Washington D.C.’s Waldorf Astoria hotel — nearly four years after another serious fall forced him to have shoulder surgery,” RadarOnline reported.
After the recent fall, McConnell was admitted to the hospital where he spent six days receiving treatment. Following his discharge, he was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility to receive care for a brain injury. One medical expert told the outlet that can cause “loss of consciousness, convulsions, seizures, loss of coordination, slurred speech, agitation, and confusion.”
Sources reportedly told the outlet that McConnell has experienced other medical emergencies in the past, to go along with his childhood encounter with polio. That includes a triple bypass operation in 2003.
In a public appearance three years ago, he displayed bruised and bandaged hands but declined to provide an explanation for his injury, the outlet noted further.
“McConnell’s falls could be the result of a coordination problem that signifies the presence of a more serious progressive cognitive condition,” one expert, Dr. Gabe Mirkin — who has not treated McConnell — told RadarOnline.
A D.C. insider told the outlet: “Mitch has been a lion of the Senate so long that it’s hard to imagine him not being there. But he’s 81 years old, and this isn’t the first time that he’s fallen. The talk is he may consider stepping down long before his current six-year term expires in 2027!”
It should be noted that if McConnell has to step down, his replacement will be named by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who is a Democrat, and that person will serve until 2026, when McConnell would have been up for reelection.
Earlier this month, people close to McConnell warned he would not be returning to his legislative duties as soon as some believed he would after falling and having to be hospitalized.
“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,” his communications director David Popp said in a statement to Axios shortly after McConnell’s accident.
A few days later, Popp explained what the treatment plan for McConnell would be.
“Leader McConnell’s concussion recovery is proceeding well and the Leader was discharged from the hospital today. At the advice of his physician, the next step will be a period of physical therapy at an inpatient rehabilitation facility before he returns home,” Popp said last week.
“The Leader and Secretary Chao are deeply thankful for the skilled medical care, prayers, and kindness they have received,” Popp continued on behalf of McConnell and his wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Additionally, Popp disclosed that McConnell had incurred a minor rib fracture in addition to the previously disclosed concussion from the accident, information that had not been previously shared. One of McConnell’s aides, meanwhile, indicated that the Republican leader might stay at the medical facility for a period ranging from several days to a few weeks, according to CNN.
“That decision will be made by the Leader’s physicians and the therapists. It is very common to undergo physical therapy to regain strength after a hospital stay and this ranges anywhere from a week to two weeks,” the aide said, according to the outlet.
McConnell is not the only senator who’s been away from the chamber for health reasons in recent days. Democratic Sens. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania and Dianne Feinstein of California have also been hospitalized in recent weeks, with Fetterman seeking treatment for depression and Feinstein for shingles.
Both sides of the aisle are impacted by absences in the chamber that is divided by 51 members of the Democratic Caucus to Republicans’ 49. With such a tight margin, any one missing senator can alter the timing for votes concerning party-line legislation or confirming President Joe Biden’s Executive Branch nominees.