February 29, 2024

Biden Shares Statement After Mitch McConnell Announces Retirement

President Biden expressed regret on Wednesday upon learning of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to step down from his leadership position, commending McConnell for his integrity.

"I’m sorry to hear McConnell stepped down. … I’ve trusted him, and we have a great relationship. We fight like hell. But he has never, never, never misrepresented anything. I’m sorry to hear he’s stepping down," Biden remarked regarding his longtime colleague in the Senate.

"I had the honor of representing Kentucky in the Senate longer than anyone else in our state history. I just never could have imagined, never could have imagined that happening when I arrived here in 1984 at 42," McConnell said in a statement on Wednesday.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life's next chapter,” he added. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

McConnell had announced his departure from the leadership role in November during a speech on the Senate floor. He clarified his intention to complete his term, which concludes in January 2027.

Biden, aged 81, and McConnell, aged 82, share a longstanding relationship, both being prominent figures in the U.S. Senate.

Over the years, they have collaborated on significant bipartisan agreements, notably in 2011 when they reached a compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts temporarily, raise the debt limit, and prevent a national default.

Just before his announcement, McConnell had visited the White House for discussions on government funding, meeting with the other congressional leaders.

In August, when McConnell experienced a public moment of hesitation in Kentucky, Biden publicly expressed confidence in McConnell's capacity to fulfill his duties, affirming that McConnell "was his old self."

Despite their past cooperation, McConnell has refrained from endorsing former President Trump, who is anticipated to be Biden's primary GOP opponent in the upcoming November election.

Their relationship has been strained since McConnell refused to support Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud in 2020.

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