Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Told Congressman Who Accosted Her, ‘I Won’t Be So Nice Next Time’
In a new profile in Vanity Fair, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recounts a new detail from a now-infamous July interaction with fellow lawmaker Ted Yoho, in which he was overheard saying she was a “f------- bitch” after accosting her on the U.S. Capitol steps.
Though Ocasio-Cortez, 31, went on to address Yoho's comments in an impassioned speech on the floor of the House of Representatives in late July, she tells the magazine in its latest cover story that she addressed her colleague privately, too.
Yoho, however — who disputes directly calling her a "bitch" — was far less apologetic to her one-on-one than he was in public, according to Ocasio-Cortez.
She told Vanity Fair that she approached Yoho the day after their confrontation and told him, “You do that to me again, I won’t be so nice next time.”
She says Yoho, 65, responded: “Oh, boo-hoo.”
(His spokesman insisted to PEOPLE that this never happened: "I can tell you from my close proximity to the events of that day [and] week. He did not say ‘oh boo-hoo.’ ")
Yoho and Ocasio-Cortez's initial encounter in July occurred on the Capitol steps, after the Florida Republican allegedly took issue with the New York Democrat's comments linking poverty to a spike in crime amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to a report from The Hill, which noted that a reporter overheard the exchange, Yoho called Ocasio-Cortez "disgusting" and "out of [her] freaking mind" in what the outlet described as a "brief but heated exchange."
Ocasio-Cortez, in response, told Yoho he was being "rude," and he said she was a "f------ bitch" as he walked away, according to The Hill.
Ocasio-Cortez has said she hadn't ever spoken to Yoho prior to that interaction.
Yoho's spokesman previously denied her version of the story, telling PEOPLE at the time that he "made a brief comment to himself as he walked away summarizing what he believes [Ocasio-Cortez's] polices to be: b-------."
Rep. Roger Williams would have also overheard the incident, according to The Hill, but he claimed he didn't hear what was said.
Even after disputing the specifics of the conversation, Yoho made a public quasi-apology for his behavior from the floor of the House of Representatives.
“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language,” he said in July. “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 responded with a widely shared floor speech of her own, which went viral on social media.
"Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters," she said then. "I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho's youngest daughter. I am someone's daughter too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter."
As Vanity Fair noted in its cover story — in a reflection of Ocasio-Cortez's popularity even as her progressive politics make her a lightning rod with the GOP — her rebuke quickly found its way on to T-shirts, hashtags and memes, eliciting compliments from a range of other lawmakers.
“They were like, ‘I didn’t know you’re that eloquent,’ ” Ocasio-Cortez told the magazine. “‘I’m so pleased and surprised by your restraint.’ ”