Senate health scares underscore age of American political leaders after McConnell fall

The recent Senate health scares are underscoring the age of several American political leaders after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fell in Washington, D.C., this past week. McConnell, 81, fell at a dinner on Wednesday night and was hospitalized, with his spokesperson saying the senator was being treated for a concussion. The fall drew out detractors who attacked the injured senator after the fall. MCCONNELL BEING TREATED FOR CONCUSSION AFTER FALL On Monday afternoon, McConnell’s spokesperson, David Popp, said the senator’s recovery after his concussion is “proceeding well” and that he has been “discharged from the hospital,” but he is heading to “an inpatient rehabilitation facility before he returns home.” “Over the course of treatment this weekend, the leader’s medical team discovered that he also suffered a minor rib fracture on Wednesday for which he is also being treated,” Popp said. “The Leader and Secretary [Elaine] Chao are deeply thankful for the skilled medical care, prayers and kindness they have received,” he added. Chao is McConnell’s wife. Detractors of McConnell called on the senator to retire after his fall. “Mitch McConnell is not fit to lead the senate GOP. He works against everything America First, Trump Republicans believe in. He also continues to lie about January 6th,” wrote Alex Bruesewitz, CEO of the consultancy company X Strategies. “I hope he recovers from his injuries because I don’t wish ill upon others, but it’s time for him to retire,” Bruesewitz continued. McConnell’s fall came a little under four years after he fractured his shoulder following another fall at his Louisville home in August 2019.  As a child, the senator was treated for polio, and he has since acknowledged some difficulty in adulthood in climbing stairs. However, during an interview with The Associated Press in April 2020, he credited his mother for instilling in him the “tenacity, hard work and not giving up” before he was 4-years-old and said she “was determined to see me walk again,” adding she had “been a guiding principle in how I lead my life.” While McConnell’s recovery is “proceeding well,” the issue of age and fitness of politicians in Congress and the White House have been brought up on social media. The American government is full of leaders wisened with experience. Sometimes, that experience is earned through time. Outside the presidency, a person can continue to serve in federal office so long as they keep getting reelected. This practice has resulted in calls for term limits by federal politicians as several octogenarians continue to serve in seats of power — including in the West Wing. Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley recently caused a stir last month when she called for a universal rule requiring politicians over the age of 75 to take “mental competency tests” before running for office. “In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,” Haley said. “We’ll have term limits for Congress and mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.” President Joe Biden is the oldest president in history, clocking in at 80 years old. His predecessor, Donald Trump, is 76 years old. White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre has repeatedly defended Biden amid questions about his age. “We get this question a lot, as you all know,” Jean Pierre said last month. “The president always says this, which is watch him.” “And if you watch him, you’ll see that he has a grueling schedule that he keeps up with that sometimes some of us are not able to keep up with,” she continued. “This is a president that works day in and day out in a grueling fashion, with a grueling schedule, and delivers,” Jean Pierre added, going on to claim Biden’s first two years in office as “one of the most historical presidencies in his first two years” than “almost any other president.” Retiring California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the oldest member of Congress at 89 years old while Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is very close, several months younger than Feinstein. Feinstein is retiring after a long career in the Senate, but amid her final term in the upper chamber, there are concerns about her mental acuity. Last month, Feinstein appeared unaware of her own retirement announcement, telling a group of reporters at the Capitol that she hadn’t made a decision on her future despite announcing just hours before that she would not be seeking reelection in 2024. Grassley is big into physical fitness, though, and regularly posts about his workouts online. The Iowa Republican also got into a push-up contest with Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, a former Army Ranger, in 2021. The Iowa senator completed 22 pushups against his Arkansas colleague. Taylor Foy, Grassley’s spokesperson, told Fox News Digital the senator “maintains one of the most active schedules in the Senate, arriving to the office at 6 a.m. each morning and not missing a vote for decades, with the exception of COVID quarantine.” “He also maintains an active and successful legislative record, authoring 50 percent of the bills passed this Congress,” Foy continued. A spokesperson for Grassley also told Fox News Digital that Grassley holds Q&A meetings in each of Iowa’s 99 counties every year and pointed to the senator’s 12-point reelection margin as proof of Iowans’ confidence in him. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., clocks in at 81 years old. At 79, Sen. Ben Cardin is the second-oldest Democrat in the Senate. The average age of the Senate is 64 years in the 118th Congress, according to In the House, the average age is 57 years, with the oldest member, Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., at 86 years old. Washington, D.C., congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, is the second-oldest, at 85. Coming in third is Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the dean of the House, who is 85 years old and serving his 22nd term in office. The next-oldest Republican in the House is Texas Rep. John Carter, who is 81 years old. Additionally, former House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is 82, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California is 82 years old, and former House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer is 83. Fox News Digital’s Kyle Morris, Brandon Gillespie, Anders Hagstrom and Louis Casiano contributed reporting.
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