GOP senators express anxieties about Mitch McConnell's health — and what comes next

Anxieties have risen after McConnell froze for 19 seconds at a news conference Wednesday before he left and returned

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Some Republican senators harbor concerns about Mitch McConnell’s health, saying they have personally witnessed changes in the minority leader, 81, after he fell and sustained a concussion in March.

Publicly, Senate Republicans are rallying around McConnell, R-Ky., sending him their support and well-wishes. None are calling on him to step down, and the senators who are next in line for the top job say they’re making no succession plans.

“I don’t know how much longer he will want to serve, but I support him as long as he wants the job,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a former GOP whip and a McConnell loyalist who has been floated as a potential successor.

But anxieties have risen after McConnell froze for 19 seconds at a news conference Wednesday before he left and returned.

“He suffered a really bad fall, and that’s actually had an impact on him,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who didn’t go into greater detail or say he has seen evidence to question McConnell’s ability to carry out his duties. “Obviously, that fall affected him.”

“Age affects us all,” Johnson said. “You can’t deny that reality.”

For more on this story, go to NBC News.

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