Mitch McConnell Mercilessly Heckled During Speech With Chants of ‘Retire!’

Kevin Wurm/Reuters
Kevin Wurm/Reuters
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was interrupted repeatedly by jeers during a breakfast speech in his home state of Kentucky Saturday, for what appeared to be the entirety of his appearance.

While the Associated Press describes how McConnell “arrived to a prolonged standing ovation,” and “received a rousing welcome from the party faithful,” he was also met with boos as he told the crowd that he and his wife, Elaine, were “really excited to be back” at the 143rd Annual St. Jerome Fancy Farm Picnic, where almost 20 Democratic and Republican speakers appeared. The picnic traditionally marks the beginning of the fall campaign season.

McConnell appeared to bear the brunt of the crowd’s ire, with chants including “shame on you,” “ditch Mitch,” “retire,” and “lost the Senate,” ringing around the packed arena as he spoke. McConnell, seemingly unperturbed, powered on without acknowledging the hostile reception. The Associated Press cites Democrats for leading the crowd revolt.

“My friends, I’ll be honest, it’s not hard for Republicans to look good these days,” McConnell could be heard amid roaring boos.

“Well, this is my 28th Fancy Farm, and I want to assure you, it’s not my last,” McConnell added. The comment seemed to confirm speculation he was not retiring anytime soon after recent concerns surrounding his health—most notably after the Senate Minority Leader seemingly froze mid-sentence while talking to reporters last week. It was the only hint he made about his recent health battles.

During his speech, McConnell stuck to the script, failing to discuss national issues, or Donald Trump, who just this weekend described McConnell at an event in South Carolina as “perhaps the worst leader in the history of our country running the Senate.” The former president also urged him to “step up and do something” to help him fight his recent legal battles.

“They’ve got something on Mitch McConnell,” Trump fumed.

“It’s a terrible thing that’s happening with that guy and with the whole…they gotta step up. The House is stepping up, they’re working hard and they are stepping up and I think a lot of things are happening but we’ll see.”

During his speech, McConnell instead focused on increasing pork prices and Democrats who “turned their backs on rural America” while praising state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is challenging Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

“I’ve watched him over the years,” McConnell said amid the mayhem. “And now you have. And you’ve seen his leadership skills, his ability to rally people together.”

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