Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken ownership of his famous "Cocaine Mitch" nickname by actually having his campaign team sell shirts referencing it, reports Fox News.
"On Wednesday, the Team Mitch Twitter account announced voters can buy their own 'Cocaine Mitch' t-shirt," reports the outlet. "The red shirt, that says 'MITCH' in white lettering, also contains the image of man's silhouette. The back of the shirt reads: 'TEAM MITCH CARTEL MEMBER.' The official 'Cocaine Mitch' t-shirt is available for $35."
The infamous "Cocaine Mitch" nickname became a part of the political lexicon when Don Blankenship, who was running for the Senate, coined the phrase. "One of my goals as US senator will be to ditch Cocaine Mitch," Blankenship said in a campaign ad.
In a later statement, Blankenship took this nickname to an extreme when he accused Mitch McConnell of being in collusion with his father-in-law's company due to its extensive ties with China:
Mitch McConnell and his family have extensive ties to China. His father-in-law who founded and owns a large Chinese shipping company has given Mitch and his wife millions of dollars over the years.
The company was implicated recently in smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Europe, hidden aboard a company ship carrying foreign coal was $7 million dollars of cocaine and that is why we’ve deemed him “Cocaine Mitch.”
Despite being a career politician for more than three decades, Mitch has become a millionaire while raising our national debt by 20 trillion dollars. The biggest jump in his wealth came from a multi-million dollar gift to his wife, Elaine Chao’s from her father, i.e. Foremost Maritime. The company uses ships chartered in Liberia, not America or China.
Vox noted that the accusation had no basis in reality. Vox wrote:
The thin-to-nonexistent basis for this charge is that McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family, own a cargo shipping company, and a few years back, about 90 pounds of cocaine was found on one of that company’s ships as it was about to leave Colombia. However, no one has ever alleged that this apparent smuggling operation was run by the company itself, let alone that McConnell or his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, had any involvement.
The accusation of criminality is all the stranger since it’s coming from a candidate who himself was only recently released from prison. Blankenship is a former coal company CEO convicted of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws after a disaster that killed 29 miners. Because of this, establishment Republicans, including McConnell and even President Trump, are desperate to defeat him in this week’s primary. (The winner will take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in the general election.)
After hilarious memes swept across the internet, Team Mitch eventually got in on the fun when they tweeted out a photoshopped image of the Senate Majority leader over the "Narcos" poster following Blankenship's defeat: