Freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to taking on controversy — with the young firebrand having sparred off against everyone from President Donald Trump to Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. However, it seems as if the 29-year-old has found herself in hot water once again after misattributing a quote to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, the scuffle happened after the freshman representative tweeted out a picture that showed several white men wearing “Team Mitch” t-shirts while posed around a cutout of Ocasio-Cortez. Though most of the men are pictured making a thumbs down sign, two of the men are in vulgar positions, with one kissing the cutout on the cheek and the other mimicking a chokehold on the Bronx native.
In her tweet, AOC slammed the actions of the young men, in addition to insinuating that the teenagers were on Senator McConnell’s payroll. She then tweeted a since-deleted followup that included a close-up of the teens in case McConnell had “trouble recognizing them.” Her followers immediately sprang to her defense, doxxing the young men in the picture.
In response, Mitch McConnell’s office released a statement, explaining that the men were not affiliated with McConnell but that the office nonetheless “in no way condones” their behavior, per The Washington Post. The Kentucky Senator’s team then chastised the Boston University alumna for seeming to target private teens via social media.
“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,” said Kevin Golden, McConnell’s campaign manager.
Hey @senatemajldr - these young men look like they work for you.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 6, 2019
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?
However, The Daily Beast did not accept this excuse, and immediately published an article of their take on the issue, where they claimed that McConnell’s team “essentially [said] boys will be boys.”
Ocasio-Cortez then ran with the “boys will be boys” quote, not realizing that the line was a paraphrase by The Daily Beast, and not what was actually said by either Senator McConnell or his campaign.
“Boys will be boys.”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 6, 2019
Is that also the reason why you’ve chosen to block the Violence Against Women act too, @senatemajldr?
It prevents dating partners w/ records of abuse + stalking women (also an early warning sign from many mass shooters) from obtaining a gun. https://t.co/shWCRmEv60
“Boys will be held accountable for their actions, starting with Mitch McConnell” Ocasio-Cortez added in a followup tweet.
Since then, the fake McConnell quote has gained traction, with several publications erroneously reporting on the issue. New York Daily News ran the headline “Mitch McConnell campaign says boys will be boys after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasts disturbing groping pic.” Newsweek also joined suit with a similar headline.
Ironically, this is not the first time that a political cutout has caused media furor. A similar incident happened in 2008 after President Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau, was photographed groping a cutout of incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, per The Washington Post.