Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suddenly froze for more than 20 seconds during a press conference on Wednesday, prompting concerns about his health and age.
Video shows the 81-year-old senator beginning to speak, going blank, and then being escorted aside by Republican colleagues.
The moment drew concern for the health of the senator, who suffered a concussion and a rib fracture from a fall in April.
McConnell returned to the presser soon after the episode. Asked if the moment was related to his concussion, McConnell said he was “fine” but did not elaborate on what occurred.
An aide told CNN’s Manu Raju that McConnell “felt light headed and stepped away for a moment,” and noted that “he came back to handle Q and A, which as everyone observed was sharp.”
Nonetheless, the blank moment drew renewed calls for age limits in Congress.
“Today’s lesson on why we need term & age limits in government comes courtesy of Mitch McConnell,” wrote one user on Twitter.
On Twitter, “Stroke” trended, with users speculation about what may have befallen McConnell.
Older politicians from both sides of the aisle have been accused of lacking mental acuity and criticized for not retiring.
McConnell is the fourth-oldest senator, behind 89-year-old Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and 81-year-old Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). All four have faced scrutiny in recent years related to their age and health.
President Joe Biden has also faced repeated concerns about his mental health and age.
A CBS News poll from last year found that the overwhelming majority of Americans—73%—would support age limits for elected officials.