Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Gives Powerful Speech About Ted Yoho Incident
"I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women," the representative said. "But what I do have issue with is using women, wives, and daughters as shields and excuses for poor behavior."
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to the House floor on Thursday to deliver a powerful speech about verbal abuse and sexism, following the incident with Representative Ted Yoho earlier this week. After Yoho was overheard calling Ocasio-Cortez "disgusting" and a "f***ing bitch" on the steps of the Capitol building, Yoho, a Florida Republican, apologized from the House floor on Wednesday.
"Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I'm very cognizant of my language," he said. "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."
In her response, Ocasio-Cortez discussed both the original comments and Yoho's apology, noting that she hadn't planned to address what he'd said until he started making "excuses" for his behavior. "I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women. But what I do have issue with is using women, wives, and daughters as shields and excuses for poor behavior," she said. "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."
Ocasio-Cortez went on to say that Yoho's words "give permission to other men" to speak that way to his own daughters. "What I believe is that having a daughter does not make a man decent," said the New York representative. "Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize. Not to save face, not to win a vote. He apologizes genuinely to repair and acknowledge the harm done so that we can all move on."
Roger Williams, the Texas representative who was with Yoho on Monday when he spoke to Ocasio-Cortez, refused to address the incident further when asked about it by CNN; Yoho's office also did not comment again. "If he wants to continue to lie, that's his business," Ocasio-Cortez said on Friday.