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McConnell Camp Hits Back After AOC Suggests Teens Who Groped Cutout of Her Worked for Him

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A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign is firing back after democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York asked if McConnell was “paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress.”

The controversy started when a photo of several young men wearing “Team Mitch” shirts and appearing to grope and choke a cardboard cutout of Ocasio-Cortez went viral on social media.

“Break me off a piece of that,” read the caption of the photo, which was taken over the weekend at Kentucky’s 139th Annual Fancy Farm Picnic, according to NBC News.

On Monday, Ocasio-Cortex retweeted a feminist account who had posted the photo.

“Hey @senatemajldr – these young men look like they work for you,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “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?”

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Despite Ocasio-Cortez suggesting otherwise, the young men in the photo do not work for McConnell or his campaign, as the Kentucky Republican’s campaign manager pointed out in a fiery statement.

“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,” Kevin Golden said in a statement to The Washington Post and other outlets.

Was Ocasio-Cortez wrong to suggest these young men worked for McConnell?

The Post had noted that as the photo went viral, “many raced to post the men’s real names and social media accounts.”

“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,” Golden added,

“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,” the statement concluded.

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Golden was referring to a 2008 controversy involving Jon Favreau, then a speechwriter for Barack Obama.

Favreau was criticized after a photo showed him groping a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton.

A person claiming to have been pictured in the controversial photo over the weekend, meanwhile, has apologized.

“I was wrong … I’m sorry,” reads a note card that the person posted on Instagram.

“My friends and I sincerely apologize to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, Senator McConnell, to our school, St. Jerome Parish, and our community for our insensitive actions at Fancy Farm this past weekend,” the person wrote in the caption.

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Joe Setyon is a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who has spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon is deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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