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'Cocaine Mitch' Wants You to Join His 'Cartel'

He's selling campaign T-shirts with cocaine dust
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2019 9:50 AM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to his office on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Mitch McConnell is embracing the "Cocaine Mitch" nickname given to him last year, going so far as to sell T-shirts featuring a faceless man (ostensibly McConnell) beside a dusting of white powder. "A year ago, a legend was born. Own your piece of history. #CocaineMitch," McConnell's Senate reelection campaign tweeted Wednesday alongside a photo of the red shirt with "Team Mitch" and "Cartel Member" on the back. It was Republican Don Blankenship who provided the nickname during his failed campaign for a West Virginia Senate seat. While attacking McConnell's wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Blankenship claimed, without evidence, that a company owned by Chao's family was implicated in cocaine smuggling, per the Hill.

NBC News calls the shirt "a poke at ... critics who alleged that drugs were found aboard a cargo ship" owned by Chao's family. ThinkProgress points out some issues, however, including McConnell's support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "which pursues cartel members and those involved in drug trafficking," and the fact that his home state of Kentucky "has one of the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the nation." The shirt is available with a $35 campaign donation, and it's apparently selling well. Campaign officials said shirts were "flying off the shelves," per the AP. "We're closing in on our biggest fundraising day of the year," the campaign added in a tweet. (Read more Mitch McConnell stories.)

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