Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., on Wednesday addressed heated remarks he made on Monday to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.— who said he called her “crazy” and “disgusting”— but the New York congresswoman said his response was “not an apology.”
“I stand before you this morning to address the strife I injected into the already contentious Congress,” Yoho said on the House floor, reading from prepared remarks.
“I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York,” he said. “It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America but that does not mean we should be disrespectful. Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language.”
Yoho said the “offensive name-calling words attributed” to him were never said, “and if they were construed that way I apologize for their misunderstanding.”
“I cannot apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family and my country,” he added.
Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter pushed back on the remarks, saying, “This is not an apology.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Wednesday that he appreciated the Yoho’s remarks.
“The apology was appropriate,” Hoyer added. “I hope that Mr. Yoho feels that apology sincerely. And I hope all of us take a lesson to think before we speak so harshly toward one another.”
Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday told reporters that Yoho confronted her on the steps of the Capitol ahead of Monday’s votes, calling her “disgusting” and “crazy.”
“I hear him just kind of like lobbing these insults at me but I just kept walking into votes,” she said.
The exchange was first reported by The Hill.
According to The Hill, Yoho told Ocasio-Cortez she was “disgusting” for suggesting unemployment and poverty were leading to a rise in crime in New York City.
“You are out of your freaking mind,” Yoho said to the congresswoman, who then told him that he was “rude,” The Hill wrote, adding that the conversation was overheard by a reporter.
Yoho stood alongside Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas., during the exchange and said “f—ing bitch” as he walked away, The Hill reported.
In a statement to NBC News, a Yoho spokesman denied the slur was used.
“He did not call Rep. Ocasio-Cortez what has been reported in the Hill or any name for that matter,” said the spokesman, Brian Kaveney, who added, “Instead, he made a brief comment to himself as he walked away summarizing what he believes her polices to be: bulls—.”
Ocasio-Cortez said she did not hear the slur but also did not dispute the report. She said Yoho confronted her a second time later Monday.
“He starts screaming saying all these other terrible things about me again kind of essentially doubling tripling down,” she said.
Williams, meanwhile, told The Hill he wasn’t paying close attention to the exchange. To that point, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday, “Gotta love Republican courage from Rep @RogerWilliamsTX: when he undeniably sees another man engaged in virulent harassment of a young woman, just pretend you never saw it in the most cartoonish manner possible and keep pushing.”
“(He’s lying, by the way. He joined in w/ Yoho),” she added, saying in a follow-up tweet that Williams yelled at her about “throwing urine.”
Earlier, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted she “never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday.”
“Believe it or not, I usually get along fine w/ my GOP colleagues,” she added. “We know how to check our legislative sparring at the committee door. But hey, “b*tches” get stuff done.”
Yoho appeared to be referencing remarks Ocasio-Cortez made earlier this month in which she said, “Crime is a problem of a diseased society, which neglects its marginalized people.”
At a Tuesday news conference, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he was going to discuss the incident with Yoho. Hoyer on Tuesday also said that Yoho should face punishment for his remarks.