During his statement on the House floor, the Florida congressman deflected attention from the verbal assault he unleashed on Ocasio-Cortez.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) responded to Rep. Ted Yoho’s non-apology by saying he needs to accept responsibility.
Yesterday, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez confirmed that Rep. Yoho called her a “F***ing B***h” on the steps of Capitol Hill, in front of other witnesses. Today, however, Rep. Yoho said on the House floor that he could not apologize for his passion.
“I stand before you this morning to address the strife I injected into the already contentious Congress,” Rep. Yoho said, as he read from his prepared comments. “I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York. It is true we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.”
He added, “Having been married for 45 years with two daughters. I am very cognizant of my language.” Rep. Yoho went on to say that he never called Rep. Ocasio-Cortez those offensive names, but if they were “construed that way, I apologize for the misunderstanding.” Rep. Yoho added that he understands poverty because he and his wife were once on food stamps. He concluded by saying, “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family, or my country.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded to Rep. Yoho’s statements on Twitter, saying, “The irony about Yoho’s excuse for his ‘passion’ in accosting me is that he says he has a personal history with poverty, and took offense that I discussed poverty and crime. So… he accosted me… to prove poverty doesn’t result in traumatized behavior? OK, where’s the apology?”
She went on to say, “Republican responds to calling a colleague ‘disgusting’ & a ‘f—ing b*tch’ w/’I cannot apologize for my passion’ and blaming others. I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept. Yoho is refusing responsibility.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said that Rep. Yoho did not accept responsibility, that he lied about their exchange being a “conversation” when it was actually a “verbal assault.” She said Rep. Yoho was distracting by making a point about his past history with poverty, and that he blamed others for his outrage because the “incident never happened.”
“This is not an apology,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said. “He didn’t even say my name.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic colleagues, including Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), have stepped in to defend her by expressing her most recent contributions on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted, “Speaking of getting sh*t done, my sister @AOC recently passed a critical housing justice amendment in the House, co-chaired a climate task force, filed a bill to stop secret police. Meanwhile, Mr. Yoho *checks notes* voted against an anti-lynching bill.”