Leaders of the U.S. House spoke out Thursday in reaction to this week’s clash between Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-N.Y.
Earlier in the week, Yoho allegedly called Ocasio-Cortez a “f—— b—-” on the Capitol steps, reportedly in reaction to comments she had made about poverty contributing to a recent rise in crime in New York City.
The encounter prompted Ocasio-Cortez to lash out at Yoho in remarks on the House floor, in which she accused Yoho of hurling “dehumanizing” insults against her.
Pelosi addressed the incident during a Capitol news conference, saying she has had similar comments directed toward her in the past, calling such remarks “a manifestation of attitudes in our society.”
“The fact that the behavior of one of the members is such that the whole Democratic Women’s Caucus has gone to the floor at a time when our floor time is very precious tells you how important this is,” Pelosi said. “And it’s a manifestation of attitudes in our society, really. I can tell you that firsthand. They’ve called me names for at least 20 years of leadership.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (Associated Press)
“There’s no limit to the disrespect or the lack of acknowledgment of the strength of women. Nothing is more wholesome for our government, for our politics, for our country than the increased participation of women. And women will be treated with respect,” Pelosi said.
Yoho on Wednesday apologized on the House floor “for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague,” referring to Ocasio-Cortez.
“I rise 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.
“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.”
‘People make mistakes’
McCarthy on Thursday said Ocasio-Cortez should accept Yoho’s apology, adding that when someone makes a mistake and apologizes they, “should be forgiven.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is seen in New York City, April 23, 2018. (Getty Images)
“I watched that Congressman Yoho went to the floor and apologized not once but twice to the congresswoman from New York. I watched the majority leader of the House accept his apology,” McCarthy said. “In America, I know people make mistakes, we’re a forgiving nation. I also think when someone apologizes they should be forgiven.”
He continued: “I just think in a new world, in a new age, we now determine whether we accept when someone says I’m sorry — if it’s a good-enough apology for them.”
Ocasio-Cortez later indicated on Twitter that she did not accept the apology, saying how Yoho didn’t “apologize or name any action he did,” or “accept responsibility.”
She also claimed he lied about their interaction — saying “this was not a ‘conversation,’ it was verbal assault.”
Two of Ocasio-Cortez’s “Squad” allies — Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., also spoke out against Yoho’s comments toward AOC.
“We are not on the House floor today because of just one callous incident,” Pressley said. “Unfortunately, what brings us to this moment are the structural and cultural conditions, and yes, the very men that have normalized the marginalization of women and specifically women of color since this nation’s very inception.”
“I’m here on behalf of women around the world,” Omar said. “This is not just about one woman, one incident, or one verbal assaulter. This is about respect and fundamental equality.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, also defended Ocasio-Cortez, saying on Twitter this week that “she is not a b—.”
“I can confirm that AOC gets along w many of her Republican colleagues on a range of things that don’t have anything to do w legislation or politics,” he wrote. “She is not a b—.”
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz and Tyler Olson contributed to this report