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Alabama’s U.S. Senators react to Mitch McConnell’s retirement

U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday he will be stepping down as the Senate Republican leader in November, but will remain in the Senate until the end of his term.

“As I have been thinking about when I would deliver some news to the Senate, I always imagined a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work,” McConnell said. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. That day arrived today.”

McConnell, 82, a native of Sheffield, Alabama, has played a monumental role in the U.S. Senate for decades.

U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery) thanked the leader for his years of service in the Senate, and honored his birthright to the Yellowhammer State.

“Today, we congratulate and thank one of Alabama’s greatest native sons,” Britt said. “We’re incredibly grateful for Leader McConnell’s decades of service and leadership for our country.”

“His legacy is unparalleled in the Senate’s history and will long outlast his tenure as Leader,” she added. “He has always been a consummate statesman and stalwart champion of this venerable institution. I think Leader McConnell said it best—it’s time to make sure our next leader will be the majority leader, so we can preserve the American Dream for generations to come.”

RELATED: Mitch McConnell: ‘Alabama has benefited from the devoted leadership of Senator Richard Shelby’

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) thanked McConnell for his leadership, but also said it was time for him to step down.

“I’ve learned a lot from Mitch McConnell since I’ve been here,” Tuberville said Thursday on WVNN. “But after about a year ago when he fell and hit his head on the Italian marble up here, he hasn’t been the same since…It needed to happen. A good leader is somebody that you can trust to know how to get the job done, be respected, but also know when to step down.”

The senator said he hopes the next leader will be able to work better with President Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell don’t get along. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “We need a leader in the Senate that’s going to travel with President Trump. That’s going to get other senators elected. That’s going to get Donald Trump elected.”

He also thinks there needs to be a change in leadership before November.

“I’m not for waiting until November, I’ll tell you that right now,” he argued. “We’re going to make a hard push to get somebody in that position…we have to have leadership now.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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