Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), known colloquially as AOC, evokes strong reactions from her Republican colleagues, largely due to her unapologetically progressive stances.
But a recent reaction from Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) was largely condemned for crossing the line.
After Ocasio-Cortez asserted that pandemic-induced financial hardship likely played a factor in the spike in crime many large cities are seeing, Yoho approached her in front of reporters on the steps of the Capitol building, where he insulted her and called her a "f***ing bitch."
The exchange was reported by multiple outlets, and AOC proceeded to call him out on Twitter.
I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday. Believe… https://t.co/iZ3c5ZUXsS— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1595339847.0
Yoho later delivered a speech on the House floor, in which he apologized if he'd been "misunderstood" and said he wouldn't apologize for his "passion."
Rep. Yoho apologizes for “the abrupt manner of the conversation” with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez after she says he accosted… https://t.co/Te1ZGIBg71— NBC News (@NBC News) 1595433375.0
The Congresswoman was vocal in her stance that this was not an apology at all.
- Does not apologize or name any action he did - Does not accept responsibility - Lies (this was not a “conversatio… https://t.co/vupdgPyRZd— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1595432997.0
On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez was recognized on a point of personal privilege for one hour, in which she and her colleagues conveyed their disgust at Yoho's words and his subsequent attempt at an apology.
Watch AOC's opening remarks below.
ICYMI - WATCH: @RepAOC @AOC remarks responding to Rep. Ted Yoho. https://t.co/0e5EjrXdEJ— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1595552640.0
The Congresswoman criticized Yoho's invocation of his wife and daughters as evidence that he isn't sexist.
She said in part:
"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 they did not raise me to accept abuse from men."
Ocasio-Cortez used the incident to remind Americans that even powerful men with daughters and wives can levy sexist vulgarities against women in one of the most prominent settings in the United States.
Her words were widely met with praise for her willingness to stand up to Yoho and advocate for herself and women who've been called the same thing.
But the coverage in a New York Times report of the speech is garnering near-unanimous criticism.
The piece highlights that Ocasio-Cortez repeated the slurs when quoting Yoho on the House floor before implying that the congresswoman was using the moment to boost her political brand.
The piece reads:
'"In front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote: "A f***ing bitch,"'" [Ocasio-Cortez] said, punching each syllable in the vulgarity. 'These are the words Representative Yoho levied against a congresswoman.'
Then Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who excels at using her detractors to amplify her own political brand, invited a group of Democratic women in the House to come forward to express solidarity with her. "
People disavowed the Times' version of events.
When I heard @AOC use the exact phrase Ted Yoho insulted her with, my gut told me that someone somewhere would be m… https://t.co/PVAeEo4Iqd— Benjamin Dixon (@Benjamin Dixon) 1595603602.0
I'm not into NYT bashing - newspaper work is hard and reporters and editors make bad calls! -- but referring to… https://t.co/xiaquT2Odj— (((Helaine Olen))) (@(((Helaine Olen)))) 1595600900.0
The NYT, which would not use the words when Ted Yoho spoke them, uses them tonight to quote @AOC--and it describes… https://t.co/flNy8pmXzT— Mark Harris (@Mark Harris) 1595559065.0
I'm no AOC stan, but @nytimes...seriously?!? And Ted Yoho is "her senior," to whom she owes deference?!? https://t.co/LeNojrkTAA— Obi-Wine Kenobi (@Obi-Wine Kenobi) 1595560751.0
IF @AOC were a man, she'd be covered like young Obama. She is a visionary politician, an inspiring orator and a sha… https://t.co/gCe6f1fnPb— Dr. Ann Olivarius (@Dr. Ann Olivarius) 1595607372.0
The @nytimes seems more upset that @AOC is "shattering the norms" in Congress by calling out sexism, then they are… https://t.co/fadkNhnur0— Abby Stein (@Abby Stein) 1595604232.0
what. the @nytimes would rather shame AOC for repeating what Yoho said to her than chastise him for calling her the… https://t.co/0U42iU7wte— emma goldman sachs (@emma goldman sachs) 1595601499.0
While the Times' coverage may have fallen short, others were inspired by AOC's words.
.@AOC you are true leader! The class, brilliance and eloquence you showed yesterday in the face of that misogynisti… https://t.co/XljDamGnET— Danielle Moodie (@Danielle Moodie) 1595607418.0
This is why we need more women in power; specifically, more women to speak to the abuse that we deal with on a dail… https://t.co/Ht48Vl1I7p— Elena Hung 🗽 (@Elena Hung 🗽) 1595607461.0
Every woman has at one time in her career heard a male peer utter something sexist about her under his breath. It's… https://t.co/64Bm6iO8ps— Amber Tamblyn (@Amber Tamblyn) 1595603927.0
Yoho has since accused Ocasio-Cortez of inflating the exchange and rejected her words.