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The vote this weekend that put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court was the culmination of a long-term master plan for conservatives: it is the apex of their decades-long plan to reshape the judiciary, a confirmation for putting their faith in Donald Trump in 2016, and it gives them the majority on the highest court they need to one day overturn Roe v. Wade.
And in the eyes of the right on Twitter, it was really the triumph of one man: Mitch McConnell, who throughout the confirmation process—and in the ensuing celebration—was praised by swooning Republicans using their favorite new moniker for him: Cocaine Mitch.
Trust in God and Cocaine Mitch. https://t.co/FevKlyttBk— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 5, 2018
Cocaine Mitch will send out his sicarios to make sure Steve Daines is where he’s supposed to be come Saturday pic.twitter.com/MPMRDgt3J6— Jack Posobiec ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@JackPosobiec) October 4, 2018
COCAINE MITCH pic.twitter.com/rYH7H7cemy— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 6, 2018
Everywhere you looked online, conservatives—mainly white dudes, of course—fawned over McConnell for his ruthless master plan, which began in February 2016 when he refused to hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, and has now seen his steeliness pay off in the form of a conservative bloc on the court that will last a generation.
Cocaine Mitch. They love Cocaine Mitch.
TFW when Cocaine Mitch is tired of your s*** pic.twitter.com/AsHi5tHv7C— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 27, 2018
Twitter was filled with Cocaine Mitch GIFs, Cocaine Mitch Scarface memes, and whatever this desire to seem cool in the eyes of their new hero is:
Saw Cocaine Mitch tonight. Shook his hand. Couldn’t bring myself to ask him if he got the money and yayo.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) October 6, 2018
Cocaine Mitch is the embodiment of a certain type of win-at-all-costs Republican. His base is obsessed with the ruthless way he saw Kavanaugh through. He is an El Chapo on Capitol Hill.
All of a sudden, a lot of mandatory minimum sentence, War on Drugs Republicans—the kind who walked out of parties in high school when they found out drugs were there—sure do think pushing cocaine is cool.
COCAINE— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 5, 2018
COCAINE— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 6, 2018
COCAINE— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 8, 2018
The moniker for McConnell originally was launched as an insult. When Don Blankenship was running in the West Virginia Senate Republican primary, he vowed to remove “Cocaine Mitch” from the U.S. Senate in an ad. At first, no one knew what he meant.
But it was soon revealed that the family of McConnell’s wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, owns a shipping company, the Foremost Group. It’s just one of many of the family’s assets which, combined, give the couple a net worth in the tens of millions. And in 2014, 90 pounds of cocaine were found on one of the ships the company operates.
Blankenship used it in an attack ad, but instead, the name got co-opted by McConnell’s team, who tweeted out a Narcos photoshop after Blankenship lost in the primary.
McConnell hasn’t answered questions about the matter and did not comment when reached for this story, but it’s most likely he was unaware of the operation going on. And despite obliviousness to drugs being trafficked through one of your companies not being a quality you’d want as a kingpin, the name stuck.
And it’d be a funny meme if it wasn’t so diametrically opposed to almost every Republican stance on drug policy.
Cocaine Mitch, after all, is the second in command of a party that is vehemently against drug smuggling, as well as the violence wrought by drug cartels and gangs. He’s said so himself.
So have some of the biggest Cocaine McConnell fans.
My great-great-grandparents weren’t members of a violent and brutal gang responsible for widespread drug trafficking. Were yours? https://t.co/K4mn5WUT5C— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 17, 2018
Everyone praising Cocaine Mitch for shepherding through the second one of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees knows that when Trump kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign—and seized his whole party by the tusks—he did it to cheers as he declared Mexicans were bringing drugs over the border, demanding a great big wall to stem the tide of illicit substances into America. The kind of drugs the ship owned by the McConnells was trafficking.
If Congress won't repeal Obamacare, Trump should go ahead and use its Prevention and Public Health Fund to build his border wall.— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) September 15, 2017
Of course, these hyped-as-hell tweeters don’t really think Mitch McConnell is a narco-pushing legislator. They’re just reveling in him exhibiting the same character traits that they think should put any brown person behind bars.
Like, say a dark-skinned person who ran for president in 2008?
When Obama ran for office, you’d be hard pressed to find a far-right voice online that didn’t ding him for his drug use.
Obama's Sordid High School Past: Drug Use, Black Nationalism http://t.co/XyD3dhjz Media? Anyone? Oh no, let's focus on Romney pranks.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 10, 2012
Guy who smokes, smoked pot regularly, snorted cocaine and ate a fucking dog told us to give up things that aren't healthy for us.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) November 21, 2013
Republicans, as they’ll tell you, again and again, are the party of law and order. To them, doing cocaine is breaking the law.
This summer, Trump decided to grant clemency to a grandmother who served 20 years of a life sentence for being involved with a group of cocaine dealers. Here’s pundit Ben Shapiro (he of many Cocaine Mitch tweets) railing against that decision.
Also Trump: Let's commute the sentence of the "quintessential entrepreneur" (judge's words) who helped run a cocaine ring trafficking in 2,000 to 3,000 kilograms.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 6, 2018
I'm not anti-commutation, but I'm confused why Johnson is a particularly great candidate for a commutation. She was convicted of leading a multimillion-dollar drug ring that trafficked thousands of grams of cocaine. Being old shouldn't mean commutation. It happens to everyone.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 6, 2018
If you want to end the drug war, end the drug war (I would). But don't commute sentences just because a famous lady told you to do so.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 6, 2018
When you’re a grandmother who broke the law to support a family, you deserve to stay in jail. But when your favorite senator is cosplaying as a narco?
Well, that’s cool AF, bro.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]