Yoho had allegedly used cuss words to describe his fellow representative but claimed it was not the case as “having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language"

By Ashley Boucher
July 24, 2020 07:01 AM
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Washington Post

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is standing up for women everywhere.

Addressing Rep. Ted Yoho's "rude" comments to her earlier this week — which included allegedly calling her a "f—— b—" — Ocasio-Cortez gave a powerful speech from the House floor on Thursday saying that in insulting her, Yoho was insulting every woman in the country.

"All of us have had to deal with this in some form, some way, some shape, at some point in our lives," she said.

"I want to be clear that Rep. Yoho's comments were not deeply hurtful or piercing to me," Ocasio-Cortez said, owing to her thick skin to working a "working-class job. I have waited tables at restaurants, I have ridden the subway. I have walked the streets in New York City. And this kind of language is not new."

"This is not new, and that is the problem," she continued, saying that there is a pervasive culture in the U.S. of "accepting of violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that."

Ocasio-Cortez also addressed Yoho's comments on the encounter on Wednesday, in which he said, “Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language. The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues. And if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.”

Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday that his statement on the matter — which did not even mention her by name — were not enough and should not be accepted as an apology.

"Yesterday, Rep. Yoho decided to come to the floor of the House of Representatives and make excuses for his behavior. And that, I could not let go. I could not allow my nieces, I could not allow the little girls that I go home to, I could not allow victims of verbal abuse and worse to see that, to see that excuse, and to see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology," Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday.

"I do not need Rep. Yoho to apologize to me," she said. "Clearly, he does not want to. Clearly, when given the opportunity, he will not. And I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women."

Ocasio-Cortez said she took issue with Yoho using his wife and daughter as "excuses for poor behavior."

"Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho's youngest daughter. I am someone's daughter too," she said. "My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter."

"My mother got to see Mr. Yoho's disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television. And I'm here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter. And that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men."

"Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man," she said. "And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize — not to save face, not to win a vote. He apologizes, genuinely, to repair and acknowledge the harm done so that we can all move on."

From left: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ted Yoho
Anna Moneymaker/Getty; Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty

In their encounter on Tuesday, Yoho reportedly called Ocasio-Cortez "disgusting," taking issue with her recent comments linking poverty to a spike in crime in New York City amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"You are out of your freaking mind," he reportedly told her, to which she replied that he was "rude," according to a report from The Hill in which a reporter said they overheard the exchange and Yoho utter "f—ing bitch" as he walked away from Ocasio-Cortez.

A spokesman for Yoho denied the lawmaker called Ocasio-Cortez a "f------ bitch," claiming that reports had sensationalized the "conversation."

"Congressman Yoho had a brief member-to-member conversation on the steps of the Capitol. As you know, these conversations happen frequently when the House is in session," said the spokesman, Brian Kaveney. "He did not call Rep. Ocasio-Cortez what has been reported in the Hill or any name for that matter."

"I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday. Believe it or not, I usually get along fine w/ my GOP colleagues. We know how to check our legislative sparring at the committee door," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "But hey, “b*tches” get stuff done."