Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley urged aging lawmakers to accept “when it’s time to go” after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) froze up during a press conference in Kentucky on Wednesday.
Haley, who is running in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, called McConnell’s situation “sad” while appearing on Fox News’ “The Story” on Thursday, where she described the Senate as the “most privileged nursing home in the country.”
“No one should feel good about seeing that any more than we should feel good about seeing Dianne Feinstein, any more than we should feel good about a lot of what’s happening or seeing Joe Biden’s decline,” Haley said, targeting the senior Democratic senator from California and the Democratic president.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have questioned 90-year-old Feinstein’s fitness for office following her extended absence from the capital earlier this year after a prolonged bout with shingles.
And conservatives have frequently cited Biden’s age among the reasons they believe he’s not fit to be president. Biden, who turns 81 in November, became the oldest candidate ever elected commander in chief when he won the 2020 presidential election.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listens to reporters after a policy luncheon on July 11, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
“What I will say is, right now, the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country,” Haley went on. “I mean, Mitch McConnell has done some great things, and he deserves credit. But you have to know when to leave.”
She then repeated her call for term limits and mental competency tests for elected officials over the age of 75.
“I wouldn’t care if they did them over the age of 50,” added Haley, who is 51. “But these people are making decisions on our national security. They’re making decisions on our economy, on the border.”
“We need to know they’re at the top of their game,” she continued. “You can’t say that right now, looking at Congress.”
Haley suggested it was time for “new faces, new voices [and] younger generations” to work in government before saying, “We need to have everybody else understand when it’s time to go.”
In July, McConnell abruptly froze mid-sentence while making remarks on Capitol Hill. He was previously hospitalized in March after sustaining a concussion and broken ribs after a fall.
On Thursday, the Senate’s attending physician Brian Monahan declared McConnell “medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned.”