McConnell, Ocasio-Cortez, men
A photo of seven young white men groping and choking an cardboard cutout of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surfaced a day after she blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his lack of action on a gun reform bill the House passed in February. (Photo Courtesy of Twitter.)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls out Mitch McConnell for Photo of Men in ‘Team Mitch” Shirts Choking and Groping Cardboard Cutout

A photo of seven young white men wearing “Team Mitch” shirts and pretending to choke a cardboard cutout of Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surfaced on Twitter Monday. Mitch McConnell and the men faced backlash — including from Ocasio-Cortez herself.

The photo was originally shared on Instagram with the caption, “break me off a piece of that.” A user with the handle @emrazz shared the screenshot on Twitter, blacking out the name of the original Instagram poster.

Ocasio-Cortez retweeted the photo and called out McConnell, saying, “Hey @senatemajldr – these young men look like they work for you. Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for your men to practice groping & choking members of Congerss w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch? Thanks.”

The photo emerged after a devastating weekend of mass shootings, when Ocasio-Cortez publicly condemned McConnell for not calling the Senate back from August recess to vote on a gun reform bill the House passed in February.

McConnell tweeted Aug. 3 offering his condolences to those affected by the El Paso shooting. Ocasio-Cortez replied:

“The House passed HR8, a Bipartisan Background Checks Act, *5 months ago* and the Senate has yet to vote on it. It was one of our 1st major priorities after ending the gov shutdown. You’ve been sitting on it since February giving bogus excuses. Care to explain the people why?”

The most-recently shared McConnell-affiliated photograph hearkens back to a photograph of two young Obama staffers, including Jon Favreau, Obama’s speech writer, pretending to grope a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton in 2008. The men did not face consequences.

This incident is also not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has been the target of sexist and otherwise demeaning comments. In June, ProPublica discovered a secret Facebook group of current and former Border Patrol agents, making jokes about migrant deaths and posting sexist memes. One of the memes was a photoshopped picture that depicted Ocasio-Cortez performing oral sex on a detained migrant. Another depicted her performing oral sex on President Trump, who has his hand around her neck.

In July, a Louisiana police officer said in a Facebook post, “This vile idiot needs a round. And I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” referring to her former job as a bartender.

Related Story: Louisiana Police Officers Fired for Threatening AOC, But Chief Refuses to Call Comment a Real ‘Threat’

In May, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the death threats she receives, saying. “I’ve had mornings where I wake up & the first thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me.”

Though all politicians and public figures are liable to face egregious comments from internet trolls, the attacks on women seem to seek to delegitimize their power through references to sexual assault.

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