A day after he reportedly called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “fucking bitch” after confronting her outside the Capitol, Florida congressman Ted Yoho, a Republican, offered an absurd apology on the House floor Wednesday.
“I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York,” Yoho began. He was off to a decent enough start, though calling the conversation “abrupt” does not exactly align with the description of the “brief but heated exchange” that appeared in The Hill Tuesday. Nor does it align with AOC’s own description of the “virulent harassment,” which began with Yoho calling the New York City congresswoman “disgusting” for suggesting that rising poverty in NYC is responsible for the city’s current crime wave.
Yoho then seemed to confirm the profane quote attributed to him, but said, “The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were constructed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.” In other words: I said it, but I said it so she couldn’t hear it.
The “apology” only got worse from there. After becoming briefly emotional while remembering his time as a young adult on food stamps — “I know the face of poverty, and for a time it was mine” — Yoho committed to conducting himself “from a place of passion and understanding.”
Then he offered this gem: “I cannot apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.” He did not explain what any of that has to with accosting a congresswoman and calling her a “bitch.”
On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez responded on the House floor. She said she was prepared to move on from the verbal assault until Yoho’s embarrassing attempt at an apology, in which he used his wife and daughters as “shields and excuses for poor behavior.”
“Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I am someone’s daughter too. 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 they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.