Men in ‘Team Mitch’ Shirts Grope Cutout of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, AOC and McConnell Respond

By Zachary Stieber

A picture widely circulating on Aug. 5 showed a group of men sporting “Team Mitch” shirts groping and choking a cardboard cutout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), prompting “AOC” to call out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“Hey @senatemajldr – these young men look like they work for you,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter, tagging the account of McConnell.

The freshman lawmaker then wondered if what the men were doing in the picture was “standard culture” for the Senator’s team.

“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?” she added.

The picture was posted by the “@emrazz” Twitter account, which indicated she grabbed it from Instagram.

The top comment on the original picture was “break me off a piece of that,” according to the screenshot of Instagram.

The picture was tracked down to an account belonging to a Bill Marshall.

A spokesman for McConnell’s campaign said that the males in the picture don’t work for him.

Kevin Golden, the spokesman, told HuffPost in an email that Team Mitch “in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender.”

He added that the 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.”

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Some of the men appeared in a picture shared on the official “Team Mitch” Instagram account holding up cutout cardboard faces of Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, the Post noted.

Both pictures were taken at Fancy Farm in Kentucky.

McConnell was also criticized recently over a photograph shared on his official account showing gravestones and McConnell smiling, with the caption: “The Grim Reaper of Socialism at #FancyFarm today.”

One of the gravestones bore the name of McConnell’s challenger, Amy McGrath, who wrote: “Hours after the El Paso shooting, Mitch McConnell proudly tweeted this photo. 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.”

Golden told the Post that the photograph was based on a political cartoon printed in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“Our supporters built an homage to the Courier-Journal cartoon at Fancy Farm and we posted their work,” he wrote in an email.

“Amy McGrath has tweeted this very cartoon several times and it’s shameful that she’s pretending not to know exactly what it is referencing in order to politicize a tragedy.”