Watch AOC Explain Why Rep. Yoho's Non-Apology Gives Men the Permission to Abuse Women

Madison Feller
Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI - Getty Images
Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI - Getty Images

From ELLE

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to the House floor this Thursday to give a now-viral response to Congressman Ted Yoho, who earlier this week was caught reportedly calling Ocasio-Cortez a "fucking bitch" after a brief altercation between the two on the steps of the Capitol.

The Hill reported that as the two passed each other on the steps, Yoho called Ocasio-Cortez "disgusting" and said, "You are out of your freaking mind," in reference to a comment Ocasio-Cortez had made about unemployment in New York City influencing a spike in crime during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ocasio-Cortez called Yoho's remarks "rude," and after the two parted ways, Yoho reportedly uttered the insult, while standing next to Congressman Roger Williams and in front of the media.

Ocasio-Cortez had briefly responded to the incident on social media, even posting an Instagram Story video of her walking to Doja Cat's song "Boss Bitch," the lyrics, "I'm a bitch, I'm a boss," playing behind her.

But after Yoho took to the House floor on Wednesday to deliver an apology, Ocasio-Cortez decided to give her own response. In his attempt at an apology, 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. Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I'm very cognizant of my language. 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."

On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez addressed the House, saying that while she was not deeply hurt by Yoho's words, she did want to point out that his actions are a byproduct of a larger cultural problem: "It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that."

In her speech, Ocasio-Cortez said that she originally thought to just chalk up the incident as "another day." But then, she said, after Yoho made "excuses for his behavior," she couldn't let it go.

She said, "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, to see that excuse and to see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology..."

"I do not need Representative Yoho to apologize to me," she continued. "Clearly, he does not want to. 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... But what I do have issue with is using women, our wives and daughters, as shields and excuses for poor behavior. Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho's youngest daughter. 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 that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men."

She then went onto explain how Yoho's comments give other men permission to use similar language to the women in their life with a sense of impunity: "In using that language, in front of the press, he gave permission to [other men to] use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable."

Ocasio-Cortez finished her speech by saying she had gratitude for Rep. Yoho for showing the world that "you can be a powerful men and accost women, you can have daughters and accost women without remorse."

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