AOC cut-out choked and groped by grinning Republican campaigners

Congresswoman condemns image, but GOP campaign spokesman says: ‘They’re high schoolers’

AOC cut-out choked and groped by grinning Republican campaigners

Supporters of a prominent Republican senator have been pictured pretending to grope and choke a cardboard cut-out of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The group – wearing campaign T-shirts backing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell – are seen laughing as they claw at the Democrat congresswoman’s life-size image.

The picture, originally posted to Facebook, was captioned with the line: “Break me off a piece of that.”

But tweeting on Monday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez condemned the image.

“Hey,” she posted at Mr McConnell, “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?”

The photo was taken over the weekend at an annual political picnic in Mr McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.

It went viral a day after Ms Ocasio-Cortez criticised the 77-year-old - in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings - for not calling a Senate vote on a gun reform bill that was passed by the House in February.

Image originally captioned with line, 'Break me off a piece of that'

“The House passed HR8, a Bipartisan Background Checks Act, 5 months ago and the Senate has yet to vote on it,” the New York lawmaker tweeted.

“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?”

She was responding to a tweet from Mr McConnell, in which he offered his condolences to the victims of the El Paso massacre.

“The entire nation is horrified by today’s senseless violence,” he said. “Elaine’s and my prayers go out to the victims of this terrible violence, their families and friends, and the brave first responders who charged into harm’s way.”

The grope photo itself was the second controversial image to come out of Team Mitch’s participation at the Fancy Farm picnic.

Another photo showed cardboard gravestones, including one with the name of the Kentucky senator’s Democratic challenger in 2020, Amy McGrath. The campaign tweeted the image under the headline, “The Grim Reaper of Socialism”.

Kevin Golden, a spokesman for the McConnell campaign team, said in a statement that the senator “in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender”.

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He added the men involved were “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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