WASHINGTON D.C. (CW44 News At 10) – A tense exchange between two members of Congress has some Democrats calling out what they say is a broader culture of sexism on Capitol Hill.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says a Republican congressman from Florida used derogatory language during a confrontation on the Capitol steps. “Representative Yoho put his finger in my face. He called me disgusting. He called me crazy. He called me out of my mind.”
New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Thursday, rejected the apology of Florida Republican Representative Ted Yoho, for a confrontation in which a member of the press overheard him using a misogynistic slur.
“In front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote, “F____ B____”.
Ocasio-Cortez says Yoho made the remark when he confronted her on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Monday over her recent comments about poverty being the root cause of crime.
On Wednesday, he apologized for the heated confrontation, but strongly denied using those words towards his colleague. “Having been married for 45 years with two daughters. I’m very cognizant of my language offensive name calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues.”
On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez denounced what she calls a pattern of dehumanizing behavior by men.
“And so what I believe, is that having a daughter does not make a man, decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women in an entire structure of power that supports that.”
Her emotional speech triggered an outpouring of support from other female Democrats. Representative Judy Chu of California added, “I was also told in Judiciary Committee to learn how to read by another one of my members across the aisle. These are the things that happened to us all the time.” House Speaker and Representative of California Nancy Pelosi replied, “I can tell you that firsthand, they’ve called me names for at least, at least, 20 years of leadership 18 years of leadership.”
Top Republican leaders say they believe Yoho’s apology was sufficient while some Democrats say they don’t even feel Yoho really apologize at all.
An example of how extraordinary this moment was: the Congressional TV channel, C-SPAN says its video clip of the congresswoman’s speech is its most retweeted video ever, and it was viewed more than 12 million times.