House

AOC: Speech to ‘expose’ Yoho part of effort to break ‘chain of abuse’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Friday that her floor speech in response to a profanity-laced exchange with Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) over the summer was designed to fight backlash women can face when responding to workplace abuse.

“I knew that the institution I was with probably wasn’t going to give him a real consequence. I knew that our party probably wasn’t going to censure him or really do anything to that degree, but I knew that I could publicly embarrass him and expose him for who he actually is to the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with Jane Fonda.

“What was important to me about that moment with Rep. Yoho this this summer was that I wanted to change a norm,” where women are punished for pushing back against men who treat them poorly, she said.

“For some reason, the act of aggression is not the problem. But speaking up about it is.”

In July, a reporter for The Hill overheard an exchange in which Yoho told Ocasio-Cortez she was “disgusting” for recently suggesting that poverty and unemployment are driving a spike in crime in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic.

“You are out of your freaking mind,” Yoho told her.

Ocasio-Cortez shot back, telling Yoho he was being “rude.”

After Ocasio-Cortez walked away, Yoho called her a “f—ing bitch.”

Ocasio-Cortez would later excoriate Yoho in a widely-viewed floor speech.

“I think it’s important that everyone out there understands that you can stand up for yourself and standing up for yourself is not selfish. It’s not complaining. And it’s not petty,” Ocasio-Cortez told Fonda, calling it a necessary step in breaking a chain of abuse that might otherwise continue.

“It’s not, ‘he did this to me.’ But you can stand in your power. And really, people with poor character just need a little bit of sunlight and oftentimes that does a lot of the work,” she said.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez AOC Ted Yoho Ted Yoho

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