Republican Mitch McConnell Hospitalized After Fall in Hotel

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks towards the Senate chamber in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., March 2, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis
March 9, 2023

WASHINGTON (Reuters)—U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been hospitalized after tripping and falling at a hotel in Washington on Wednesday, his spokesperson said in a statement.

"This evening, Leader McConnell tripped at a local hotel during a private dinner. He has been admitted to the hospital where he is receiving treatment," his spokesperson said, giving no further details.

The 81-year-old Kentucky Republican's legislative skills have torpedoed many Democratic priorities over the years, both when his party held a majority in the chamber and when Democrats have held the edge, as they currently do.

He has long been loathed by Democrats, particularly for his tactics that allowed Republicans to build a 6-3 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. But he has also drawn the ire of Donald Trump, largely for rejecting the Republican former president's false claims that his 2020 election defeat was the result of fraud.

With Republicans now holding a narrow 222-213 majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, McConnell has so far stayed on the sidelines in the debate over raising the nation's looming $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, leaving talks to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden.

Currently serving his seventh term, which runs through 2026, McConnell is the third U.S. senator to be hospitalized in recent weeks.

Democrat John Fetterman is currently being treated for depression, while Diane Feinstein, also a Democrat, recently was discharged to recuperate from home following a bout with shingles.

Democrats, including three independents who vote with them, hold a 51-49 majority in the chamber.

McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984. He served as the Senate majority leader from 2015 to 2021, and has been the Senate minority leader since then.

A former judge-executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky, McConnell has also helped steer the federal judiciary sharply to the right during his nearly four decades in the Senate.

After winning their narrow majority in the House in last November's elections, Republicans held 15 rounds of voting before electing McCarthy as speaker. Senate Republicans, by contrast, easily reelected McConnell.

(Reporting by Washington newsroom; Editing by Paul Simao)