Fox News Politics: McConnell’s ‘sprint to the finish line’

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-Biden makes unannounced visit to Walter Reed Medical Center

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Longtime Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Wednesday he will step away from leadership in November. 

McConnell, who turned 82 last week, announced his decision in an emotional speech in the Senate shortly after noon. 

"One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter," he said. McConnell's first Senate term started in 1985, under the late President Reagan, and McConnell remained a huge fan (despite Reagan at first calling him "Mitch O'Donnell -- Close enough"). But McConnell didn't reminisce much. 

"There'll be plenty of time to express my gratitude and greater detail as I sprint towards the finish line, which is now in sight," he said.

McConnell's dramatic decision, which will set up a leadership election in the GOP conference after the November election, comes as Republicans have expressed increasing discontent with McConnell's handling of the bipartisan border bill and national security supplemental package that included aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. 

McConnell has also butted heads with former President Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential front-runner, who said at a Fox News town hall recently: "I don't know that I can work with [McConnell]." 

Yet after McConnell's announcement, gratitude poured in from both McConnell's allies and his critics. "I’m grateful for his service.... I think Mitch's tenure has had many legacies. But no legacy is more consequential than the nomination and confirmation of hundreds of principled constitutionalists to the federal judiciary. And that is a lasting benefit to the American people for which I'm deeply grateful," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters.

McConnell said he intends to finish his current Senate term, which ends in January 2027. Sources familiar with his thinking told Fox News Digital the senator's health was not a factor in his decision. McConnell had a concussion after a fall last year and two public episodes when he appeared to freeze while addressing reporters. 

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