Outgoing Sen. Mark Kirk was praised on the Senate floor Tuesday by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, lauding the fellow Republicans recovery from a "debilitating” 2012 stroke.
Following a contentious campaign, Kirk was knocked off by Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the November election. Duckworth will shift to the Senate in January. Prior to his term in the Senate, Kirk served in the U.S. House of Representative for ten years.
“If Senator Kirk had just decided to quit the Senate and focus on his recovery, no one would’ve blamed him,” McConnell said. “But he didn’t do that. He never lost hope. He never gave up."
"He set his sights on getting back to work for the people of Illinois and the nation,” he added.
Kirk returned to the Capitol less than a year after the stroke, climbing up the Senate steps alongside Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
“Mark could rest assured no one was going to let him fail or fall that day,” McConnell said. “And Senator Manchin could rest assured that he wouldn’t have to go another day waiting for his buddy’s return."
McConnell, who referred to the climb as a “triumph,” spoke fondly of Kirk’s close friendship with Manchin, who supported the senator throughout his recovery.
“The senate can be more than just a place of work, it can actually be a family,” McConnell noted.
McConnell commended Kirk’s legacy in the Senate Tuesday, namely his work on veterans issues and foreign policy matters.
“We know he won’t stop looking out for our country,” McConnell said. “We know he won’t stop advocating for stroke survivors."
"We know he’s not going to stop," he said.