Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called this week for his conference’s floor leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to step down from his top post amid health concerns.
He joins a growing number of Republicans, including the conservative magazine National Review, that have called for the 81-year-old GOP leader since 2007 to step aside.
“If you’re concerned about the president’s ability to do his job — and I am, and a lot of Republicans say they are — you have to be concerned when it’s someone from your own party,” Hawley told reporters.
“Do I think McConnell should be leader? No. If you’re concerned about [President Joe] Biden’s ability to do his job, then you’ve got to be concerned when it’s somebody of your own party,” he added.
Hawley was previously one of several Senate Republicans who did not vote for McConnell to lead the conference for another term in 2022.
The others included Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Braun of Indiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Rick Scott of Florida — who ran to replace him.
Still, a significant contingent of Republicans is coming to McConnell’s defense, with Sen. John Thune of South Dakota signaling Tuesday that McConnell should continue serving as leader.
“He has my full support and the support of the conference,” said Thune, the Republican whip.
Concerns surrounding McConnell’s health have grown after reports that he’s fallen multiple times over the past year, including one fall that led to a concussion, and two scary freeze-up moments during press conferences.
A report from U.S. Capitol attending physician Brian P. Monahan assured that there was no evidence the leader had a seizure disorder, experienced a stroke, or had Parkinson’s disease.
“There are no changes recommended in treatment protocols as you continue recovery from your March 2023 fall,” Monahan wrote.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Luca Cacciatore ✉
Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics.
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