Ocasio-Cortez won’t accept Yoho apology: He’s ‘refusing responsibility’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday refused to accept an apology from Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) delivered just hours earlier, framing it as an insincere gesture following a tense exchange between the pair on the steps of the Capitol two days earlier.

“I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“Yoho is refusing responsibility.”

The comments mark the latest development in a fast-moving feud between the two lawmakers, who jousted Monday morning just outside the Capitol building over sharp differences of opinion on anti-crime policy.

Yoho had approached Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the east side of the Capitol during a vote, criticizing her for proposing that poverty, unemployment and societal neglect were fueling a recent crime spike in New York City.

It was less a conversation than it was a denunciation: Yoho said she was “disgusting” and “out of her freaking mind” for holding such an opinion. Ocasio-Cortez fired back, accusing him of being “rude.”

After the pair had split, Yoho uttered to himself: “Fucking bitch.”

The comments, coming amid a national debate over racial disparities and white privilege, sparked an outcry from a number of Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), who urged Yoho to apologize.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also called for civility on Tuesday and later met with Yoho in the Capitol, though neither lawmaker has commented on the nature of the discussion.

On Wednesday morning, Yoho took to the House floor and apologized for his tone during the confrontation.

“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.

Yet Yoho did not acknowledge using the crass, sexist slur as he was walking away, referring only to “words attributed to me by the press.” He emphasized that the profanity was “never spoken to my colleagues” while apologizing a second time for “the misunderstanding” if those words “were construed that way.”

Yoho described himself as a passionate advocate for anti-poverty measures, noting that he and his wife lived on food stamps for a time years ago. He made a point that he was not apologizing for that passion.

“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,” he said.

“I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.”

Hoyer, appearing on the floor afterward, said he appreciated the gesture, which he deemed “appropriate,” and predicted that Ocasio-Cortez “appreciates that apology.”

Not long afterwards, she revealed that is hardly the case.

“The irony about Yoho’s excuse for his ‘passion’ in accosting me is that he says he has a personal history w/ poverty, and took offense that I discussed poverty and crime,” she tweeted. “So… he accosted me… to prove poverty doesn’t result in traumatized behavior?”

“OK,” she tweeted, asking where he had apologized.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Kevin McCarthy Steny Hoyer Ted Yoho

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