- Mitch McConnell said he does not have “any current plans” to step down as Senate GOP leader.
- “I’m still in the height of my career,” the 79-year-old said in a new interview.
- McConnell has held his seat in the US Senate since 1985.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shut down speculation about his retirement in a new interview on Sunday.
“I’m still in the height of my career,” the 79-year-old told local PBS station Kentucky Educational Television. “I’m at the top of my game.”
Rumors swirled that McConnell might be leaving public office after he recently worked with the GOP-led Kentucky state legislature on a bill that would change the process for filling a vacancy in the US Senate, KET reported.
Before the new legislation passed in March, if a US senator left their post before the end of their term, the Kentucky governor was in charge of filling the seat ahead of the next election. Now, the law requires the governor to choose a temporary replacement from the same party as the departing senator.
McConnell said he understood how the move sparked suspicions about his political future, but clarified that he does not “have any news to make on that issue.”
“In fact, actually, [the bill] was my idea,” McConnell said. “This came about because I had been watching, over the years, how vacancies were filled, and I thought this was a better way to do it. And honestly we had the votes in the legislature to do it.”
The Kentucky Republican has held his seat in the US Senate since 1985 and was reelected in 2020 for another six-year term. He made history in 2018 by becoming the longest-serving Senate GOP leader, and on Sunday he showed no intentions of stepping down from that top position.
“I enjoy the confidence of my colleagues,” he said. “And we’ll see what the future holds. But I don’t have any current plans to take any other role, I can tell you that.” McConnell also acknowledged that by the end of his current term, he will tie the record for the longest-serving Senate leader in US history.
McConnell said his top focus is on regaining control of the Senate in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. When Democrats won the upper chamber in January, he was relegated to Senate minority leader after serving as the majority leader since 2015.