Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday disavowed a photo of seven youths wearing "Team Mitch" shirts and posing suggestively with a cardboard cutout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
"Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender," said McConnell campaign spokesman Kevin Golden, the New York Post reports. "These young men are not campaign staff, they're high-schoolers.
"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 said.
The picture was taken Saturday at an annual political picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, the Post reports. It was posted to Instagram — captioned "Break me off a piece of that." — but later removed.
In the photo, one youth mimics choking Ocasio-Cortez, while another has his arm draped around the cutout — appearing to kiss her. Three others give the freshman congresswoman the thumbs-down sign.
But Ocasio-Cortez on Monday called out McConnell on Twitter: "These young men look like they work for you.
"Just wanted to clarify: Are you paying for young men to practice groping and choking members of Congress with your payroll," the tweet continued, "or is this just the standard culture of Team Mitch?"
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