When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was approaching the U.S. Capitol on Monday, she was accosted by Republican Representative Ted Yoho of Florida, who berated her, allegedly calling her “rude,” “disgusting,” and a “fucking bitch.”
Yoho has since denied calling Ocasio-Cortez a “fucking bitch,” though a reporter overheard the exchange. On Wednesday, he made an unconvincing attempt at expressing remorse on the House floor, in which he apologized for the “abrupt manner of conversation” he had with her, as well as what he called the press’s “misunderstanding.” He added: “I cannot apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.”
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she did not accept Yoho’s non-apology, and on Thursday morning, she excoriated him on the House floor. Following the exchange, Ocasio-Cortez says, she was prepared to let it go. But after Yoho took to the House floor to “make excuses for his behavior,” Ocasio-Cortez says she could not remain silent. “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.” She also lambasted Yoho for referencing his wife and two daughters in his remarks, which she labeled as yet another example of men attempting to use female family members “as shields and excuses for poor behavior.” Simply having a wife or daughter “does not make a man decent,” she says. “Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.”
“I am someone’s daughter, too,” she continued. “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 on television. And I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they didn’t raise me to accept abuse from men.”
Ocasio-Cortez noted that she’s not looking for Yoho to apologize to her now. “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 toward women,” she said.