A group of young men associated with the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) photographed groping and choking a cardboard cutout of Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) is under scrutiny.
The group of smiling men were all wearing “Team Mitch” campaign shirts in support of McConnell at an annual political picnic in Kentucky when the photo was taken, the Huffington Post reports. The caption of the photo reportedly read, “Break me off a piece of that.”
The outspoken congresswoman quickly fired back on Twitter, asking some important questions, including directly tagging McConnell asking “Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?”
According to HuffPo, a McConnell campaign spokesperson attempted to distance the campaign from the young men who they said were “not campaign staff,” but “highschoolers.”
Team Mitch “in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender,” spokesperson Kevin Golden said.
“The young men were “not campaign staff; they’re high schoolers, and it’s incredible that the national media has sought to once again paint a target on their backs rather than report real, and significant news in our country,” Golden added.
But, according to the report, some of the same young men showed up in another photo on the official “Team Mitch” Instagram account at the picnic, holding up cutout faces of Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
There was also another controversial photo coming out of the McConnell campaign that depicted cardboard gravestones reading “Rip Socialism” and “Rip Amy McGrath,” referencing the veteran who is challenging McConnell for his seat in 2020.
“I find it so troubling that our politics have become so nasty and personal that the Senate Majority Leader thinks it’s appropriate to use imagery of the death of a political opponent (me) as messaging,” McGrath said in her own response on Twitter.