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Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell hospitalized after fall

Spokesman Doug Andres says the 81-year-old Kentucky Republican was attending a private dinner at a Washington hotel when he tripped

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Capitol on March 7.J. Scott Applewhite (AP)

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been hospitalized after tripping at a local hotel on Wednesday evening, a spokesman for the senator said. The Kentucky senator, 81, was attending a private dinner in Washington when he tripped. He was admitted to a hospital for treatment, spokesman Doug Andres said.

McConnell’s office did not provide additional detail on his condition or how long he may be absent from the Senate.

In 2019, the GOP leader tripped and fell at his home in Kentucky, suffering a shoulder fracture. At the time, he underwent surgery to repair the fracture in his shoulder. The Senate had just started a summer recess and he worked from home for some weeks as he recovered.

First elected in 1984, McConnell in January became the longest-serving Senate leader when the new Congress convened, breaking the previous record of 16 years.

The taciturn McConnell is often reluctant to discuss his private life. But at the start of the COVID-19 crisis he opened up about his early childhood experience fighting polio. He described how his mother insisted that he stay off his feet as a toddler and worked with him through a determined physical therapy regime. He has acknowledged some difficulty in adulthood climbing stairs.

The Senate, where the average age is 65, has been without several members recently due to illness.

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., 53, who suffered a stroke during his campaign last year, was expected to remain out for some weeks as he received care for clinical depression. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 89, said last week that she had been hospitalized to be treated for shingles.

The Democratic absences have proven a challenge for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who is already navigating a very narrow 51-49 majority.

The Republicans, as the minority party, have had an easier time with intermittent absences. It is unclear if McConnell will be out on Thursday and if that would have an effect on scheduled votes. South Dakota Sen. John Thune is the Senate’s No. 2 Republican.

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