Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proven time and again that, despite attacks and outright bullying from multiple members of the GOP, she is rubber and you are glue. In the latest effort to demean and disparage the freshman congresswoman, Ocasio-Cortez was randomly accosted by Florida Representative Ted Yoho on the Capitol steps on Monday. Although a marble staircase hasn’t seen this much drama since the early seasons of Gossip Girl, AOC is not one to engage in petty name-calling (or very sexist and gross name-calling, in this case).
According to a report from The Hill, Ocasio-Cortez was ascending the steps of the Capitol building as Yoho was walking down. A reporter overheard Yoho tell Ocasio-Cortez that she was “disgusting” for suggesting that the spike in New York City’s crime was influenced by poverty and unemployment exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. “You are out of your freaking mind,” Yoho continued. Ocasio Cortez shot back, telling her fellow representative that he was being “rude.” That seemed like the end of the conversation, when Yoho continued down the steps, joined by Texas Representative Roger Williams. Once he was a few steps down, Yoho was heard muttering, “fucking bitch” to Ocasio-Cortez.
But AOC didn’t respond in the moment to her fellow congressman’s repugnant attack. And while Yoho may prefer his last words to be muttered on the Capitol steps, AOC prefers hers to be tweeted. The following day, as news of Yoho’s comment began to circulate, Ocasio-Cortez offered her thoughts on the exchange, saying that usually she and her fellow representatives check their arguing at the door and keep things professional. Tapping into her penchant for a brilliant Twitter clap back, she made it clear that she heard everything Yoho said.
Believe it or not, I usually get alone fine with my GOP colleagues. We know how to check our legislative sparring at the committee door,” she wrote on Twitter. “But hey, ‘b*tches’ get stuff done.”
I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday.
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.
But hey, “b*tches” get stuff done. 🤷🏽♀️ https://t.co/WlG3xccwR7
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 21, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez, who is beloved by many young democratic and socialist voters (and reviled by her opposition), has been the subject of many forms of harassment in her tenure. The New York representative has also been a longtime advocate for policies that would reallocate police budgets to educational, mental health, and other social services. In keeping with that idea, she mentioned that a stem of the crime surge came from economic hardship and a lack of programs aimed at leveling economic disparities. “Crime is a problem of a diseased society, which neglects its marginalized people,” she said during the July 9 town hall. “Policing is not the solution to crime.”
This is, apparently, something Yoho took issue with and felt the need to accost her verbally on her way to work. But many of their fellow co-workers were both surprised and unsurprised by this attack.
Ruben Gallego, an Arizona member of Congress, and Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips found it odd – read: unsurprising – that Yoho chose to target a woman espousing the correlation between poverty and crime rather than attacking a man with the same intensity. After suggesting the same idea, Gallego found it “weird” that “neither Yoho or any other member has ever talked to me that way.” Phillips echoed the sentiment tweeting, “I believe poverty to be a root cause of crime. Wonder why Rep. Yoho hasn’t accosted me on the Capitol steps with the same sentiment?”
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) July 21, 2020
— Rep. Dean Phillips (@RepDeanPhillips) July 21, 2020
Refinery29 reached out to Yoho for comment and a member of his team responded saying Yoho denies saying what he’s reported to have said. “Congressman Yoho had a brief member to member conversation on the steps of the Capitol. As you know, these conversations happen frequently when the House is in session,” they continued. “He did not call Rep. Ocasio-Cortez what has been reported in the Hill or any name for that matter. It sounds better for the Hill newspaper and gets more media attention to say he called her a name – which he did not do. It is unfortunate that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is using this exchange to gain personal attention.”
Williams, who was near enough to have heard the entire exchange, said he wasn’t paying attention. “I was actually thinking, as I was walking down the stairs, I was thinking about some issues I’ve got in my district that need to get done,” Williams told The Hill. “I don’t know what their topic was. There’s always a topic, isn’t there?”
Despite all of this, AOC seems unfazed — and so does everyone else. While AOC has made a name for herself as a political powerhouse in her freshman year, this is the first time many people are even reading about Ted Yoho.
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