Mother whose son died of overdose slams McConnell's 'Cocaine Mitch' shirt


A Kentucky mother called Mitch McConnell's 'Cocaine Mitch' campaign shirt 'reprehensible.'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to earn campaign cash by selling a t-shirt emblazoned with a "Cocaine Mitch" logo — a reference to a nickname given to McConnell in 2018 by a GOP Senate candidate.

But a Kentucky mother who lost her 19-year-old son to a heroin overdose called McConnell out on Thursday, saying his attempt to raise money off a shirt that glorifies drug use is offensive and wrong — especially in a state like Kentucky that is suffering from an opioid epidemic.

"The shirts aren't just offensive, they're a painful and cruel joke to those of us grieving a terrible loss or fighting desperately to save a loved one," Tanya Meeks wrote in a Medium post.

"The shirts are not acceptable anywhere, but in a state that is ground zero for opioid addiction, it is reprehensible," Meeks added. "The sale of the shirts should stop immediately, and any funds raised should be donated to addiction recovery services in Kentucky."

McConnell's campaign has been celebrating the sale of the red shirts that feature a faceless silhouette of McConnell with white powder near the face, tweeting on Wednesday that "Cartel Members" who purchase the shirts are helping support his 2020 reelection campaign.

Yet Meeks doesn't find the shirts to be funny at all.

"We all know about Kentucky's long history with drug addiction and death," Meeks wrote. "Whether it is pills, opioids, or some other drug, our streets and homes are filled to the brim with the aftermath of what real drug cartels have done to our state."

She is urging Kentuckians to sign a petition to get McConnell to stop selling the shirts and to donate all the profits he made off the $35 campaign merchandise.

The petition is in its early stages, but those who signed it have brought up their personal experiences with the opioid crisis.

"I knew Mitch was dirty but this is beyond despicable," a signatory named Beverly Bratcher wrote. "I have family who lost their life to opioid addiction. For once in your life do the right thing Mitch and stop selling these shirts."

Another signatory named Linda Townzen echoed similar sentiments to Meeks.

"Kentucky has one of the highest rates of opioid addiction in the country," Townzen wrote "I don't feel like this is funny. I worked 10 years in Corrections and I have seen firsthand how drugs can destroy families."

Turns out selling offensive t-shirts glorifying drug use isn't a great campaign move, especially for McConnell, who holds the illustrious title as the most unpopular senator in the United States.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.