Mitch McConnell confused members of the press Wednesday when, speaking at a press conference, the U.S. Senate Republican leader froze midsentence for about 40 seconds before personnel escorted him from the podium.
“Is he OK?” one voice can be heard asking off-camera in a video posted to Twitter via BNO News.
“Are you good?” asked another.
“You OK, Mitch? Anything else you want to say or should we just go back to your office?” asked a male adviser, stepping into frame and leaning into the senator’s ear. “Do you want to say anything else to the press?”
At that point, the three men standing guard around McConnell helped him step down and he walked away.
Per Reuters, the senator rejoined the press conference shortly after, stepping to the podium and saying, “I’m fine.”
The 81-year-old Republican senator from Kentucky is the longest-serving Senate party leader of all-time. The episode, apparently first publicized by MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin, occurred during a scheduled appearance and remarks to press on Wednesday morning. While the conference eventually proceeded as planned, McConnell’s freeze-up reportedly went unaddressed thereafter.
Many online have speculated about the senator’s health for years, most recently after a fall at a Washington dinner in March that sent him to the hospital. Comments on the video had viewers weighing in on the possibility of a larger medical episode being at play, with some suggesting a stroke was the cause of his freeze. Others raised concerns over term limits for elected officials.
Watch the moment in the video above.