Senator Mitch McConnell broke down in tears while saying a public farewell to fellow longtime Senator Lamar Alexander on December 2. Alexander is retiring after representing the state of Tennessee in the Senate since 2003.
McConnell, 78, gave a speech from the Senate floor on Wednesday to say goodbye to his “friend for 18 years.” In the video clip, which went viral on Twitter, the Republican Kentucky senator gets choked up imagining going to work and Alexander not being there. “So I’m sorry that in a few more weeks, it’ll just be the rest of us left,” McConnell says.
Alexander, 80, has long been a vocal supporter of McConnell and most recently backed his move to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court before the 2020 election, according to The Tennessean. Alexander said:
No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year. The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it. Going back to George Washington, the Senate has confirmed many nominees to the Supreme Court during a presidential election year. It has refused to confirm several when the President and Senate majority were of different parties. Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot.
Alexander, however, shared a message of unity during his farewell speech on Wednesday. He said, “Our country needs a United States Senate to work across party lines to force broad agreements on hard issues, creating laws that most of us have voted for and that a diverse country will accept.”
Twitter Users Were Angry McConnell Cried Over Alexander & Not the Hundreds of Thousands of American Deaths From COVID-19
Many social media users were upset at seeing McConnell cry over Alexander’s retirement and not the hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths in America, or the millions of Americans waiting for the Senate to approve a stimulus package.
Johnny Akzam, who briefly ran for a Minnesota congressional seat in the 2020 election, tweeted, “Man, f*** this guy and his s***** friend Lamar Alexander. If he’s going to miss him so much, maybe he should follow him, take all the money he grifted from the People, and leave us the f*** alone to live without his oppression umbrella over us constantly.”
Democratic political strategist Adam Parkhomenko wasn’t moved by McConnell’s speech nor was he sad to see Alexander retire. Parkhomenko tweeted, “After four years of enabling Trump, Lamar Alexander refuses to acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect. So naturally half of Senate Democrats showed up to clap for him. Really not hard to see how they’re always getting manhandled by a turtle.”
McConnell Has Cried During 2 Other Senate Farewell Speeches
While a rare occasion, McConnell’s farewell speech for Alexander on Wednesday was not the first time he has cried during a speech on the Senate floor. On March 14, 2019, the senator got choked up while saying goodbye to Don Stewart, one of his longtime aides, who was leaving as his deputy chief of staff to work for a trade group, CNN reported.
“For more than 12 years, I entrusted Stew with my words and my goals and my reputation, and he has never let me down,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor. “He never flagged, he never slowed. Our watchdog never lost a step. Totally trustworthy, completely reliable, unbelievably competent, the greatest luxury a leader could have.
“So today, I have to say goodbye to an all-star staff leader who took his job about as seriously as anybody you will ever meet,” McConnell said. “But he took himself far less seriously than most people you’ll ever meet in the process.”
McConnell also shed tears during a speech in 2010 paying tribute to Republican Senator Judd Gregg.