FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WYMT/WKYT) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign is capitalizing on a fellow Republican's attack, selling "Cocaine Mitch" shirts on his campaign's website. The shirts appear to have been hot sellers.
The Kentucky Republican's campaign Twitter account said Wednesday that McConnell was closing in on one of his biggest fund-raising days of the year and thanked people who chipped in by purchasing shirts.
The shirt shows a faceless figure with a sprinkling of cocaine on the side. It says "Mitch" on the front and "cartel member" on the back.
The Senate leader's campaign is laughing off an attack by ex-coal executive and failed Senate candidate Don Blankenship, who called him "Cocaine Mitch" after a magazine article alleged that drugs were found aboard a cargo ship owned by McConnell's wife's family.
Our sister station WKYT reports even though it broke a record, one mother was offended by the shirt.
"When I saw the shirts I was, my heart stopped. I was like how could our leader support this in the state that our state is in," said Tanya Meeks.
Tany Meek's son struggled with drug abuse.
"In December of 2014 is when I learned about his heroin use and it was only after his death that I learned that he was using heroin," said Meeks.
Since that day Meeks has worked to make sure other parents do not have to face the same reality as her family.
"I partnered with local physicians and we created the Narcan program and we've been passing out Narcan throughout Kentucky for the last four years," said Meeks.
Meeks wrote a letter to McConnell and asked the senator to stop selling the shirts. Instead, she asks him to donate the money to addiction recovery services.
"I felt like they were glorifying drug use and to me, I was horrified as a mother who has actually lost a child to drug use I was absolutely appalled," said Meeks.
McConnell's campaign disagrees and believes McConnell has done more in Congress to fight drug addiction compared to others.
"I don't feel like he is part of the solution, he is actually becoming part of the problem," said Meeks.
McConnell's campaign also wants to point out the record-setting $87 million grant he recently announced for the University of Kentucky in April to combat the opioid epidemic.