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Yoho apologizes after confrontation with Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoOcasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: 'These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time' Ocasio-Cortez: 'No consequences' in GOP for violence, racism 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics MORE (R-Fla.) apologized to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: The center strikes back Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Harris rebounds after difficult trip MORE (D-N.Y.) on the House floor on Wednesday morning following a heated confrontation on issues of crime and policing on the Capitol steps Monday. 

The Florida Republican apologized for his tone during the encounter with the firebrand first-term progressive, in which a reporter with The Hill overheard him call her "disgusting" and “out of your freaking mind” for her suggestion that poverty and unemployment are leading to an increase in crime in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic. As he was walking away, he also referred to her with a crude, sexist slur. 

Yoho denied directing the use of profanity at his colleague.

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“I rise today 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,” he said in a floor speech.

“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I'm very cognizant of my language," he added. "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 the misunderstanding.”

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Yoho said that while he apologized for the curt manner in which the exchange happened, he feels passionate about the issue of poverty and says it’s an issue that needs to be debated.

“As my colleagues know, I'm passionate about those affected by poverty. My wife, Carolyn, and I started together at the age of 19 with nothing. We did odd jobs, and we were on food stamps. I know the face of poverty and for a time it was mine. That is why I know people in this country can still, with all its faults, rise up and succeed and not be encouraged to break the law,” he continued.

“I will commit to each of you that I will conduct myself from a place of passion and understanding that policy and political disagreement be vigorously debated with the knowledge that we approach the problems facing our nation with the betterment with the country in mind and the people we serve. I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.”

During the confrontation on Monday, Ocasio-Cortez told Yoho his comments were “rude.” On Tuesday, Democratic leaders called for repercussions with House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBiden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' House passes political spending, climate change corporate disclosures bill House to vote Wednesday on making Juneteenth a federal holiday MORE (D-Md.) saying it’s “conduct that needs to be sanctioned."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May MORE (R-Calif.) later met with Yoho to discuss the encounter.