During a campaign stop by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the Fancy Farm Festival in Kentucky on Monday, a group of young men supporting him posed for a widely-reviled Instagram photo around a life-sized cardboard cutout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), strangling and kissing it.
While McConnell's campaign agreed that the image was "demeaning," campaign manager Kevin Golden largely brushed off responsibility for the incident, saying "these young men are not campaign staff, they are high schoolers" and complaining that the media was latching onto the picture to "demonize, stereotype, and publicly castigate every young person who dares to get involved with Republican politics."
On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez hit back at the campaign's tepid response to the incident:
“Boys will be boys.” Is that also the reason why you’ve chosen to block the Violence Against Women act too,… https://t.co/4eSAWQSvGg— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1565122085.0
The Violence Against Women Act, which provides resources to local governments to combat domestic violence and other violent crimes victimizing women, was allowed to lapse this year. House Democrats have reauthorized the bill, complete with new provisions to prevent people accused of domestic violence from purchasing firearms, but Senate Republicans have refused to even take up the measure.