Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was verbally accosted—including being called a "fucking bitch"—by Republican colleague Rep. Ted Yoho Monday afternoon on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building over her remarks earlier this month tying a rise in New York City crime to increased levels of poverty and housing insecurity in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"That kind of confrontation hasn't ever happened to me—ever," Ocasio-Cortez told The Hill's Mike Illis—who reported that the exchange was witnessed by a journalist—shortly after the encounter. "I've never had that kind of abrupt, disgusting kind of disrespect levied at me."
I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday.
Believe it or not, I usually get along fine w/ my GOP colleagues. We know how to check our legislative sparring at the committee door.
But hey, “b*tches” get stuff done. https://t.co/WlG3xccwR7
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 21, 2020
The progressive Democratic lawmaker was confronted by Yoho, a Florida Republican, for her comments as the two passed each other on the steps of the Capitol building in "an unusually personal exchange." According to Illis, Yoho called Ocasio-Cortez "freaking crazy," while the New York congresswoman fired back that the GOP legislator was being "rude."
After Ocasio-Cortez walked away, Yoho was overheard calling her a "fucking bitch."
— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) July 21, 2020
Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), who was walking with Yoho, told Illis that he didn't notice much of the exchange.
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"I was actually thinking, as I was walking down the stairs, I was thinking about some issues I've got in my district that need to get done," Williams told Illis. "I don't know what their topic was. There's always a topic, isn't there?"
Here is the reporting from the Hill.
Yoho accosts AOC in a stairwell and starts attacking her policy positions. She disagrees. After they “parted ways” he called her a “fucking bitch.”
Rep Williams, in a profile in courage, says he heard nothing. pic.twitter.com/kqXY2MQNml
— Daniel Schuman (@danielschuman) July 21, 2020
Progressives expressed outrage over Yoho's remarks and solidarity with Ocasio-Cortez, a regular target of right-wing attacks.
"This culture of vitriol does a disservice to America," tweeted Shahid Buttar, , a progressive Democrat challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her congressional seat in California. "Right wing voices feel threatened by our voices—and with good reason."
He was furious because AOC said there's a link between poverty and crime. Yoho has also said a tax on tanning beds was racist discrimination against white people, Obama was born in Kenya and a federal anti-Lynching law would "trample on states rights."https://t.co/aFDAZFvC8I
— Dan Murphy (@bungdan) July 21, 2020
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) noted the sexist undertones to the attack and wondered why Yoho hasn't confronted others with similar views to Ocasio-Cortez.
"Like AOC, I believe poverty to be a root cause of crime," tweeted Phillips. "Wonder why Rep. Yoho hasn't accosted me on the Capitol steps with the same sentiment?"