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Mitch McConnell to step down as Republican leader in US Senate at end of year

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-29 06:10
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US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor after announcing that he will step down this year from his leadership role, at the US Capitol in Washington DC, US on Feb 28. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving leader in the Senate history, announced Wednesday that he will step down from the position at the end of the year.

"One of life's most underappreciated talents is to know when it's time to move on to life's next chapter, so I stand before you today, Mr. President and my colleagues, to say this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate," McConnell said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday.

McConnell, 82, has served as GOP leader since 2007. A leadership transition is set to take place in November when an election will be held to choose his replacement. The newly elected leader will assume office in January.

McConnell is seen by fellow lawmakers as a skilled strategist in politics and one of the most powerful figures in Washington. Collaborating with then-President Donald Trump, McConnell played a pivotal role in passing a comprehensive 1.5 trillion tax cut bill in 2017.

However, McConnell's once significant sway over the Senate GOP has waned in the past year as the party increasingly aligns itself with Trump, who maintains a notably strained relationship with the Republican leader.

The rift between Trump and McConnell was exacerbated by the events of Capitol riot on Jan 6, 2021. Despite voting to acquit Trump in the subsequent impeachment trial, McConnell asserted that the former president bore substantial moral responsibility for inciting the events of that day.

In the latest sign of Trump's strength and McConnell's waning influence, the Senate Republican leader recently encouraged GOP senators to pass a bipartisan immigration and Ukraine aid deal, but just four of them supported it.

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