Photo of Team Mitch boys kissing and choking a cardboard cutout of AOC and her response

AOC Responds To ‘Team Mitch’ Members Kissing And Choking Her Cardboard Cutout

A photo of a group of young white men in “Team Mitch” (McConnell) shirts posing for a photo with a cardboard cutout of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with one miming choking her and another kissing her cheek, surfaced on Twitter Monday. The caption from the original Instagram post, which has been deleted, read “break me off a piece of that.”

It wasn’t long before the photo reached the congresswoman herself, and she is asking Senator McConnell for some accountability.

“Just wanted to clarify,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in her tweet, “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?”

A McConnell campaign spokesman did respond Tuesday, saying that the young men in the photo are high school kids not affiliated with the official campaign.

“Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender,” said spokesman Kevin Golden according to the New York Post. “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.”

It has also been revealed today that the boys attend a Christian school, the Lexington Christian Academy, which released a statement saying that the young men were at a “non-school event” when they took the photo but that the matter “has been addressed with the students and the families involved.”

Ocasio-Cortez and other congresswomen of color have faced an increasing amount of death threats and suggestions of sexual violence toward them, particularly after Donald Trump singled out four of them to attack in his tweets and campaign speeches.

Many of the congresswoman’s supporters have expressed horror at the photo and are calling for McConnell to personally condemn this kind of behavior.

Mitch McConnell himself has still not responded to this photo or to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.