VIDEO: McConnell to step down as leader after November election

US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY. Source:

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  • "As long as I am drawing breath on this earth, I will defend American exceptionalism," McConnell said.

In comments from the chamber floor of the US Senate on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, announced that he would resign his leadership post in November. However, he said he will complete the job of representing the people of Kentucky and that he “wasn’t going anywhere.”

First elected in 1984, McConnell will be the longest serving senator in American history.

“I believe more strongly than ever that America’s global leadership is essential to preserving the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan discussed, ” he said. “As long as I am drawing breath on this earth, I will defend American exceptionalism.”

McConnell was elected to Congress during the “Reagan Revolution” of the 1980’s. He joked that at first he just hoped colleagues remembered his name, and that he was once called “Mitch O’Donnell” by the late Ronald Reagan.

“Representing the state of Kentucky and leading my colleagues has been the honor of a lifetime, but one of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” McConnell said in prepared remarks to Senate colleagues.

McConnell turned 82 years old this year and made headlines after some apparent health issues, some in front of the media. Still, McConnell said he plans to continue to fight for his policy positons.

“I still have enough gas in my tank to disappoint my critics and intend to do so with all the enthusiasm to which they’ve become accustomed,” he said.

Supporters from both sides of the aisle, including North Carolina’s Republican Senators Ted Budd and Thom Tillis recognized McConnell’s decades of public service, in applause and praise,

Choosing a new minority leader will be up to a vote of the Senate Republican Caucus. McConnell’s term in the US Senate ends in January of 2027.