AOC criticizes McConnell after social media post with cardboard cutout

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night, joining many others who’ve taken swings at the senator over the past few days. But her criticism was for a different reason.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a photo that had been circulating on social media and tagged the senator. The photo shows a group of young men holding a cardboard cutout of Ocasio-Cortez with one of them making a choking gesture at the throat and another gesturing to kiss her cheek. 

The handle of the person who originally shared the photo was blacked out, but the caption reads, at least in part, “break me off a piece of that.”

“Hey @senatemajldr,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to the photo, “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.”

McConnell’s camp told the Washington Post it does not condone the image. In a statement, McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden explained that the high school boys in the photo were not campaign staff.

“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,” the statement said. 

The photo comes after Amy McGrath, who hopes to unseat the senator in November 2020, criticized McConnell for posting a photo of a tombstone with her name on it on Saturday. Another tombstone in the picture said, “Green New Deal,” a plan introduced by Ocasio-Cortez to tackle climate change. 

Reach breaking news reporter Sarah Ladd at sladd@courier-journal.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ladd_sarah.

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