U.S Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Mitch McConnell on Twitter Monday over a viral photo that shows young men in “Team Mitch” shirts with a life-size cutout of the New York Congresswoman.
The photo shows seven young men in matching shirts with the cutout. One has his hand near her neck and another has his arm around her waist while gesturing as if he’s kissing her.
The caption of the Instagram post read, “break me off a piece of that,” according to screenshots posted to social media.
“Hey @senatemajldr - these young men look like they might work for you,” Ocasio-Cortez began her tweet, addressing McConnell. “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?”
McConnell has not responded to the tweet from the outspoken Congresswoman.
Some of the same young men were in a picture posted by the Team Mitch Instagram account. The photo shows the young men holding cutouts of the faces of Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
A McConnell spokesperson said the young men are actually not a part of the McConnell campaign staff.
“We’ve watched for years as the far-left and the media look for every possible way to demonize, stereotype, and publicly castigate every young person who dares to get involved with Republican politics,” the statement from Kevin Golden read. “These young men are 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.
“Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life sized cardboard cut outs of any gender in a manner similar to what we saw from President Obama’s speechwriting staff several years ago.”
In 2008, a picture surfaced on Facebook of Obama’s speech writer, Jon Favreau, grabbing a breast of a Hillary Clinton cardboard cutout.
Some of the young men in the photo with the Ocasio-Cortez cutout are students at Lexington Christian Academy, who were attending a “non-school” event, a school spokesperson said Tuesday.
“Lexington Christian Academy officials are aware of a photo circulating on social media which includes LCA students attending a recent, non-school event,” Dan Koett wrote in an LCA statement. “This matter has been addressed with the students and the families involved.”
It’s the second time since last weekend McConnell has received negative criticism to a social media post. His campaign Twitter page posted a photo Saturday from the Fancy Farm picnic of mock tombstones of his 2020 Senate race opponent Amy McGrath, Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The tombstones were in reference to a political cartoon about McConnell’s “slime machine” that appeared in the Herald-Leader on July 12.
McConnell’s photo was posted the day of a mass shooting in El Paso that left 22 people dead.
“Mitch McConnell proudly tweeted this photo,” wrote McGrath on Twitter. “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.”
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords also tweeted she was appalled “McConnell is joking about the death of his current and former opponents and a federal judge.” Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 in an a shooting that killed six people.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted at Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer saying the city needs better leadership.
“Stop embarrassing the city of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky by allowing this public disorder,” Bevin tweeted. “Would you stand for this on your street? Doubt it.”
Fischer responded by telling Bevin peaceful assembly and freedom of speech is allowed in the country. “Sorry if that embarrasses you,” Fischer answered back.
“I stand with those calling on @senatemajldr to return to DC and protect our families from more death,” Fischer tweeted. “Our people deserve that.”