McConnell heckled with calls to ‘retire’ during speech at Kentucky event

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was met with jeers from the crowd while delivering remarks in his home state at the annual “Fancy Farm Picnic” on Saturday, a rowdy annual event where attendees of both parties cheer and jeer.

In widely circulated video clips on social media, the crowd is heard booing and chanting “retire” and “lost the Senate” as McConnell, who has long been a target of criticism from his party’s right wing, especially after he turned on former President Donald Trump, said that he and his wife, Elaine, are “excited to be back” at the event featuring Democratic and Republican speakers.

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

McConnell did not acknowledge the jeers from the crowd throughout his speech. He criticized Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who sat behind him during his remarks and is up for re-election this year, for Covid-19 restrictions.

McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Trump, whom McConnell fell out with after he condemned the then-president after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, mocked the GOP leader in a Truth Social post on Monday.

“I AGREE!,” Trump, a Republican presidential candidate wrote.


McConnell spoke at the annual event amid intensified concerns over his health. He appeared to freeze for 19 seconds during a weekly Republican leadership news conference last month, went silent and was walked away by Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a top McConnell deputy.

He walked back to the news conference a few minutes later. Asked about his health, he said he was fine. Asked whether he can do his job, he said: “Yeah.” His office said he felt lightheaded and stepped away briefly.

McConnell swiftly sought to tamp down speculation about his future and vowed to serve his full term as Republican leader after the health incident. His two-year term as Senate GOP leader ends in early January 2025. He became the longest-serving Senate party leader in U.S. history earlier this year.

The health incident added to a series of others this year, which began in March when he was hospitalized with a concussion and a minor rib fracture and was discharged days later before he entered rehab. He didn’t return to the Senate, however, until mid-April. Earlier this month, he tripped and fell at a Washington, D.C., airport, NBC News reported. He was not seriously injured.

This article was originally published on

Leave a Comment