"I have no announcements to make on that subject," he told reporters when he was asked whether he has any plans to retire soon. "I am going to finish my term as leader, and I’m going to finish my Senate term."
McConnell is on a two-year term as GOP leader, which expires after the 2024 election. His term as a senator expires in January 2027.
McConnell, 81, made the remarks at his first news conference since he returned to Washington and one week after the second of two apparent freeze-ups he has had while speaking to reporters, which have sparked fresh questions about his health.
McConnell faced multiple questions about what happened in those instances and what his diagnosis is, and he referred each time to a letter from the Capitol's attending physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, who wrote that there is "no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease." McConnell's office released the letter Tuesday, and he pointed to it Wednesday.
"I think Dr. Monahan covered the subject fully. You've had a chance to read it. I don't have anything to add to it," McConnell said. "And I think it should answer any reasonable question."
McConnell opened the media availability by touting his support for continuing U.S. aid to Ukraine in coming funding legislation, saying he hopes his colleagues will agree with him.
After the GOP leadership media conference, Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., a McConnell ally and potential successor, said he doesn’t know whether McConnell will remain GOP leader through 2025 and 2026.
“I don’t have any — I mean, that’s way out there,” Thune told reporters. “Right now we’re just trying to get from week to week and try and make sure that everything is functioning at the end of the fiscal year, which is just a couple of weeks ahead of us.”
McConnell addressed his recent health issues at the GOP’s weekly closed-door lunch earlier in the afternoon. He spoke for about eight minutes on the subject and take no questions from his colleagues, said Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.
Braun said McConnell said “nothing new from what we already knew. … He seemed chipper, in good shape and said he’s got a clean bill to keep going forward.”
Senators have continued to rally around McConnell, and most have not expressed concerns about his ability to serve as leader.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who opposed McConnell for leader this term, is one of the few who has said he is “concerned” about McConnell’s health. He again advocated for term limits in the Senate but would not say McConnell’s medical issues preclude him from serving as leader.
McConnell's remarks about his health were followed by an unrelated presentation about fundraising and abortion, said multiple senators who attended the lunch.
Hawley said it was “clear” McConnell’s team wanted to change the topic. “There wasn’t a chance for anybody to converse or ask questions,” he said.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who mounted an unsuccessful leadership challenge to McConnell several months ago, maintained he doesn’t “have any concerns” over McConnell’s ability to serve. “I thought he did a good job,” Scott said of McConnell’s remarks to colleagues.
After McConnell’s comments, his top political adviser touted his record fundraising haul — nearly $50 million brought in in August from groups directly aligned with him.
Then, Republican senators were treated to a presentation about on abortion polling; McConnell’s team shared that since the Supreme Court ruling last year overturning national abortion rights, the term “pro-life” doesn't resonate with voters, who don’t know what it means, senators said.