Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), has been hospitalized after a fall at a hotel in Washington, his spokesperson confirmed on March 8.
The 81-year-old Senator was attending a private dinner at a local hotel when he tripped, spokesman David Popp said in a statement.
“This evening, Leader McConnell tripped at a local hotel during a private dinner. He has been admitted to the hospital where he is receiving treatment,” Popp said, without providing further details.
McConnell, the Senate’s longest-serving GOP leader, had been at an event at the Waldorf Astoria when he fell, according to Punchbowl News.
The Republican lawmaker was previously hospitalized in 2019 for another fall, this time at his home in Kentucky, which resulted in him fracturing his shoulder.
At the time, a spokesperson for the senator said he had tripped on the outdoor patio at his residence in Louisville and received medical treatment.
McConnell is a survivor of polio from his childhood, having been diagnosed with the disease before a vaccine was developed.
Battle With Polio
While the majority of individuals with polio do not display any visible symptoms, a small portion of those diagnosed develop serious symptoms that impact the brain and spinal cord, including meningitis and paralysis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2018, McConnell told a conference on polio eradication at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that doctors had warned his mother that he shouldn’t walk after his diagnosis.
His symptoms included paralysis in part of his left leg and, at the time time, he periodically visited a polio rehabilitation institute for treatment.
“So my mother, like a drill sergeant, literally watched me every waking moment for two years,” McConnell said. “After two years, my first memory in life was our last visit to Warm Springs, where the nurse told my mother, ‘I think he’s going to be OK.’”
He noted that his experience motivated him to help support vaccine efforts and the tracking of polio in the remaining cases throughout the world.
“I think it’s under-appreciated outside the public health community just how much hard work and innovation has to continue after a disease has dropped off the front pages,” McConnell said, adding that without continued support, “progress could erode rapidly.”
McConnell was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and served as the Senate majority leader from 2015 to 2021, and the Senate minority leader since then.
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Before his election to the Senate, he served as judge-executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky, from 1978.
More Lawmakers Hospitalized
McConnell’s hospitalization comes shortly after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the oldest member of the Senate, was hospitalized after contracting shingles.
“I was diagnosed over the February recess with a case of the shingles,” Feinstein’s office said in a statement on March 2. “I have been hospitalized and am receiving treatment in San Francisco and expect to make a full recovery. I hope to return to the Senate later this month.”
The Democrat has since been released from hospital, although it is unclear when she will return to Washington.
Elsewhere, Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.), 53, who suffered a stroke during his campaign trail last year, remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he has been receiving treatment for clinical depression since last month.
His office said late last month that he is “doing well, working with the wonderful doctors, and remains on a path to recovery.”
The absences of the Democratic lawmakers have made things difficult for Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is already navigating a very narrow 51-49 majority as opposed to the 50-50 split of the previous two years.
The Epoch Times has contacted McConnell’s office for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report. Article cross-posted from our premium news partners at The Epoch Times.