Congressman Apologizes After 'Disgusting' Altercation with Fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Ted Yoho on Wednesday apologized for “the abrupt manner of the conversation” he had earlier this week with fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in which The Hill reported that he called her a “f------- bitch.”
Yoho, 65, insisted that the "offensive name-calling words attributed to me" were not spoken to Ocasio-Cortez.
The original article in The Hill suggested he said it to himself as he walked away from the altercation. A Yoho spokesman perviously told PEOPLE that he "made a brief comment to himself as he walked away summarizing what he believes [Ocasio-Cortez's] polices to be: b-------."
Nonetheless, Yoho said Wednesday he was sorry for the "misunderstanding."
Speaking from the floor of the House of Representatives, he said: “I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York. It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.”
“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language,” he said. “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.”
On Twitter afterward, Ocasio-Cortez wrote that Yoho was still "refusing responsibility."
"I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept," she wrote, noting in another tweet: "He did not mention my name, nor did he acknowledge that I was even involved."
Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic representative for New York, said Yoho disparaged her in a brief interaction while they passed each other at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
"I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday," she tweeted on Tuesday. "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 concluded her tweet by referencing the report from The Hill, in which a reporter said they overheard Yoho utter "f----- bitch" as he walked away.
But hey, 'b*tches' get stuff done. 🤷🏽♀️," she wrote.
According to the outlet, Yoho called Ocasio-Cortez "disgusting" during a "brief but heated exchange," taking issue with her recent comments linking poverty to a spike in crime in New York City amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"You are out of your freaking mind," he reportedly told her, to which she replied that he was "rude."
Speaking with a journalist after the exchange, Ocasio-Cortez said "that kind of confrontation hasn't ever happened to me — ever."
"I've never had that kind of abrupt, disgusting kind of disrespect levied at me," she added.
The comments made by Ocasio-Cortez that reportedly angered Yoho related to her suggestion that unemployment and financial troubles caused by the coronavirus crisis resulted in desperation and increased petty crimes.
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"Republicans are all upset that I’m connecting the dots between poverty and crime. I know most of them haven’t experienced or seen these issues first hand, but I have," she tweeted on July 13. "This may be hard for them to admit, but poverty and crime are highly linked, both violent & nonviolent alike."
In his statement on the House floor on Wednesday, Yoho defended his stance and added that he “cannot apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family or my country.”