Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took a stand on the House floor on Thursday to address the sexist and misogynistic remarks of one of her colleagues.
What Started It?
In a brief exchange on the Capital steps last Monday, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was walking to a vote and happened to pass by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), who without provocation belittled her for her belief that unemployment and poverty are the driving the rising crime rates in New York City.
Ocasio-Cortez told Yoho that he was being “rude”, who in turn called her a “f*cking b*tch” as he walked away. It is noted that Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) was walking “shoulder to shoulder” with Yoho at this time.
Yoho delivered an address to the situation on Wednesday morning before the House. However, most people are calling his remarks a non-apology. “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 me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.”
In response to Yoho’s shrugging off of taking accountability for his actions, Ocasio-Cortez took to the House floor to speak her mind. She highlighted that this harassment and violence towards women is nothing new for her or countless other women across the country and that there is “an entire structure of power that supports” impunity in how men treat women.
Ocasio-Cortez went on to thank Yoho “for showing the world that you can be a powerful man and accost women. You can have daughters and accost women without remorse. You can be married and accost women.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s speech has since been shared online many times over. She noted that she is not expecting a legitimate apology from Rep. Yoho, but that she “could not allow” her nieces, the little girls in her district, or victims of verbal abuse and worse “to see that excuse and to see our Congress accept it as legitimate, and accept it as an apology, and to accept silence as a form of acceptance.” Women around the country are resonating with and commending her response not only to Yoho’s aggression in the workplace but also to her naming of sexism and misogyny as a pervading culture in society.