House

Yoho apologizes after confrontation with Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) apologized to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (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.

“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.”

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 Hoyer (D-Md.) saying it’s “conduct that needs to be sanctioned.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) later met with Yoho to discuss the encounter. 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Kevin McCarthy Steny Hoyer Ted Yoho

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