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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, backed by a team of supportive colleagues, led one hour of passionate speeches on the House floor Thursday morning calling out Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., for “dehumanizing” insults against her and slamming his attempt to apologize as falling way short.
Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., recounted how Yoho accosted her on the Capitol steps Monday, put a finger in her face calling her “disgusting,” “crazy” and “dangerous.” Later, she said Yoho then called her a “f—ing b—h,” which was overheard by reporters.
“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,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez said she’s used to getting harassed as a woman in America, recalling her time as a bartender and rider of New York City subways, and then getting targeted by President Trump as a member of Congress.
The liberal politician and member of the freshman “squad” said she was prepared to let Yoho’s comments go, until the retiring GOP congressman attempted to apologize on the House floor Wednesday and instead used his wife and daughters as “shields” and “excuses for poor behavior,” she said.
Yoho noted in his speech Wednesday that he has two daughters and has been married for nearly five decades, so he is “very cognizant of my language.”
“I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter, too,” Ocasio-Cortez said, getting emotional talking about her late father. “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 am 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.”
Ocasio-Cortez ended her 10-minute monologue thanking Yoho for showing just how common harassment against women is — even against members of Congress — and how it’s a “pattern” of dehumanizing behavior.
“I want to thank him for showing the world that you can be a powerful man, and accost women,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “You can have daughters and accost women, without remorse, you can be married and accost women. You can take photos and project an image to the world of being a family man and accost women without remorse and with a sense of impunity. It happens every day in this country. It happened here on the steps of our nation’s Capitol.”
“I stand before you this morning to address the strife I injected into the already contentious Congress,” Yoho 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.”
“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,” Yoho said.
But AOC swiftly indicated on Twitter that she did not accept the apology.
She wrote that Yoho didn’t “apologize or name any action he did,” didn’t “accept responsibility,” and lied about their interaction — saying “this was not a ‘conversation,’ it was verbal assault.”
In his contentious exchange with Ocasio-Cortez, which was first reported by The Hill, the outlet reported that while confronting the congresswoman over her past comments about crime in New York City being propelled by the pandemic and poverty rather than a lack of policing, he called her “disgusting” and “out of her freaking mind.” He reportedly did not make the “f—— b—-” comment until after the two had parted ways, and was not speaking to anybody in particular when he made the comment.
However, his office denied those remarks, telling Politico the lawmaker had merely said, “bulls—.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s address Thursday was followed up by passionate speeches from 16 Democrats — including the three fellow squad members Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — who praised the freshman rep for standing up to Yoho and said women are not going to put up with such attacks. Many females colleagues, as part of the historic class of women reps in Congress, recalled abusive language they’ve experienced in their lives and said it’s not acceptable.
“We are here to say that we will not allow sexism, misogyny and patriarchy to hold us back,” Omar, D-Minn., said. “We will not apologize for advocating for women everywhere. We will not apologize for claiming the power that women deserved for centuries. And we will send a message to our daughters and their daughters, that they deserve fundamental equality.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.