Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) on Friday denied reports that he had accosted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on the Capitol steps on Monday or that he had directed a sexist slur at the congresswoman claiming that “everything was directed at policy.”
“I’m not going to try to defend myself,” Yoho told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Friday. “I feel bad for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez who thinks this was — I called her these names, I did not call her these names. This was strictly on policy,” the congressman said, adding that he was “not worried about this.”
Rep. Ted Yoho told Fox News on Friday that he had not accosted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Capitol steps or called her names. "She's making hay out of this, she's fundraising off of this," Yoho said. pic.twitter.com/C5lx9rBwcS
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 25, 2020
The comments come after the Florida congressman appeared to make gestures at a watered down apology Wednesday, saying that he regretted “the abrupt manner” of the “conversation” he had with Ocasio-Cortez after a report surfaced that a reporter from The Hill overheard Yoho calling the congresswoman “disgusting” and saying that she was out of her “freaking mind” to suggest that an upshot in crime was linked to the economic burdens made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America but that does not mean we should be disrespectful,” Yoho said on the House floor on Wednesday, adding that he would not apologize “for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.”
But any of what looked like it could be considered as a vague attempt at apologizing was taken back by Friday.
When MacCallum asked Friday if he had used the words ‘fucking bitch’ in reference to Ocasio-Cortez, Yoho denied the remarks, saying that as he walked down the steps he said “‘this is such freaking B.S.’ That’s all I said.”
The congressman suggested that the New York lawmaker had “spun” their interaction “into saying that I’m attacking all women and women of color,” but that the altercation was “strictly policy” and that Ocasio-Cortez advocated for policies that were “bad for this nation.”
Yoho said that he often had conversations with members of Congress and that while “we don’t always walk away agreeing,” those conversations often ended in laughter “we’re always amicable,” he said.
In a passionate rebuke Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez said that the incident with Yoho reflected a culture of violence and violent language against women. “ 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 said.
Yoho responded by telling MacCallum that the progressive lawmaker was using “identity politics” to gain support, saying, “I don’t play that.”
The Republican congressman said in the Fox News interview Friday that Ocasio-Cortez was using his confrontation with her to her advantage politically all the while “making fun” of the incident in private.
“She’s making hay out of this, she’s fundraising off of this,” Yoho said.