Another day, another political conflict, but this one is pretty legit. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is criticizing Sen. Mitch McConnell and his team for a pretty good reason. On Monday, August 5, AOC posted a tweet about a viral photo that showed seven young men or teens, all wearing "Team Mitch" t-shirts, posing with a cardboard cutout of the congresswoman. Many of the young men were posing with their thumbs down next to the cutout and one of the men appeared to choking the cutout, another appeared to be groping it. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "Team Mitch" tweet to McConnell is a brutal response to the viral photo.
On Aug. 5, Twitter user @emrazz posted a screenshot of an Instagram photo, with the account handle blacked out, featuring the seven young men posing with the cutout. The original photo was captioned "break me off a piece of that" and @emrazz contextualized it further, writing, "Pictured: seven young white men in 'Team Mitch' T-shirts, gathered round a distressed looking cardboard @AOC, groping and kissing her." The same day, Ocasio-Cortez quote-tweeted @emrazz's post and added her own caption directed at Mitch McConnell. She wrote,
Hey @senatemajldr - these young men look like they work for you. 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? Thanks.
According to CBS, the photo was taken on Aug. 3 at the St. Jerome Catholic Church Picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, McConnell's home state. Per Snopes, the Team Mitch T-shirts were a "fixture of the event," and there were cardboard cutouts of multiple politicians from from different parties. Elite Daily reached out to McConnell's office for further comment on the photo or the campaign's relationship to the seven people in the photo but did not hear back by the time of publication. Ocasio-Cortez's team declined to comment to Elite Daily.
However, Kevin Golden, McConnell's campaign manager, told CBS News that the men in the Team Mitch shirts are high schoolers and not part of the campaign staff. Golden also said that Team Mitch doesn't condone "any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life sized cardboard cut outs of any gender." The names of the young men in the photo have not been made public.
In his statement to CBS, Golden also leveled criticism at the "far-left." He said, "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."
Ocasio-Cortez clapped back in turn on Aug. 6, calling out what she called the "boys will be boys" sentiment of the response. "Is that also the reason why you’ve chosen to block the Violence Against Women act too, @senatemajldr?" she wrote. While the act, abbreviated as VAWA, passed the House in April 2019, it has not been taken for a vote in the Senate.
On Aug. 6, the Team Mitch Twitter accused AOC and "liberal Twitter personalities" for allegedly trying to dox the men in the photo. A tweet from the Team Mitch Twitter alleged, "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and liberal Twitter personalities are trying to dox some underage kids for taking a photo with a cutout at the Fancy Farm political picnic and are cheering on thousands of accounts calling for Senator McConnell to 'break his neck.’" In a second tweet, the Team Mitch account added, "These threats go far beyond a political cartoon or a broken shoulder, they are serious calls to physical violence and we’ve alerted law enforcement."
Ocasio-Cortez's office declined to comment on Team Mitch's claims about her being associated with doxxing.
No matter what happens next, I'm sure we'll hear plenty more about this situation in the coming days.