Mitch McConnell gets choked up on Senate floor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a tearful and personal send-off Thursday to one of his longtime aides, a rare show of emotion on the Senate floor from the Kentucky Republican.

The typically reserved McConnell got choked up several times as he said farewell to Don Stewart, his spokesman and deputy chief of staff who is leaving Capitol Hill to work for a trade group.

“For more than 12 years, I entrusted Stew with my words and my goals and my reputation, and he has never let me down. He never flagged, he never slowed,” the Republican leader said Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor. “Our watchdog never lost a step. Totally trustworthy, completely reliable, unbelievably competent, the greatest luxury a leader could have.”

Stewart has been very close and loyal to McConnell and worked tirelessly to advance the GOP agenda in his role. The two worked together through three different presidents and two of McConnell’s re-election campaigns.

“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 as he then paused to hold back tears. “But he took himself far less seriously than most people you’ll ever meet in the process.”

In 2010, McConnell also got emotional on the Senate floor when he bid farewell to his former chief of staff Kyle Simmons.