Rep. Ted Yoho ‘Apology’: Not Sorry God Made Me Call AOC A ‘F*cking B***h'
Earlier this week, House Rep. Ted Yoho from Florida (of course) accosted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outside the Capitol. He said she was “disgusting" and “out of [her] freaking mind" because she'd expressed an opinion he didn't like. When she walked away, a reporter overheard Yoho call her a "fucking bitch" like any duly elected Twitter troll.
Today, after some pressure from Democratic leaders, Yoho delivered something resembling an apology on the House floor.
YOHO: I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York.
If you recall the distant past of a few sentences ago, Yoho repeatedly insulted Ocasio-Cortez. That's different from speaking abruptly — defined as “brief to the point of rudeness." That's a fair criticism of my text responses, which are usually just three words: “Yes," “No," and “Fine." (I'm even less chatty on the phone.)
The problem wasn't that he was curt. Ocasio-Cortez was the one who ended the conversation. He presumably would've kept calling her names.
YOHO: It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America. But that does not mean we should be disrespectful.
What do you mean “we," asshole? Ocasio-Cortez said Yoho was “rude," which he was, and then ended her audience with him.
YOHO: Having been married for 45 years with two daughters ...
I hesitate attempting to understand whatever point he's making here.
Yoho explained that his decades of personal experience with human females in their native habitat had conditioned him to watch his language.
YOHO: The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues.
This is the classic passive-voiced non-apology where someone “apologizes" for an offensive act while simultaneously denying it ever happened. After some consulting in the chatcave, Wonkette has determined this legalistic nonpology is meant to convey — well, it's meant to confuse, not to convey, but the meaning of is is that while he called AOC "disgusting" to her face, he did not say the offensive name-calling words ("fucking bitch") TO his colleague, but at his colleague's back as she walked away from the old abusive spitting man.
YOHO: And if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.
It's generous of Yoho to “apologize" for a reporter's apparent deafness. Maybe what he said wasn't "fucking bitch" but actually “okay, you don't want to engage."
YOHO: As my colleagues know, I'm passionate about those affected by poverty. My wife Carolyn and I started out at the age of 19 with nothing. We did odd jobs. And we were on food stamps.
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As a congressman, Yoho has called food stamps a “trap" and has opposed SNAP benefits. He disagrees with the objective reality that there are millions of starving Americans and “jokingly" said, "I think there's 330 million people starving, at least three times a day. We call it breakfast, lunch and dinner."
YOHO: I know the face of poverty and a for a time it was mine. That is why I know that people in this country can still, with all its faults, rise up and succeed and not be encouraged to break the law.
Yes, Yoho escaped poverty, likely with a combination of hard work, good fortune, and fucking government assistance. In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman is captured and confined in a seemingly impregnable fortress. He climbs his way to freedom because ... you know, Batman ... but once he's free, he tosses a rope down for everyone he left behind. He doesn't insist that because he did it the hard way others must.
Also, Ocasio-Cortez didn't encourage anyone to break the law. She explained why poor people — especially those who lack the inherited wealth of white maleness — can become so desperate that they do break laws designed to protect property.
YOHO: I will commit to each of you that I will conduct myself from a place of passion and understanding that policy and political disagreement be vigorously debated with the knowledge that we approach the problems facing our nation with the betterment with the country in mind and the people we serve. I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.
WTF? This is the worst non-apology ever. It's a stump speech for next year's CPAC. He doesn't admit to ordering the Code Red, but he “cannot apologize" for loving God, his family, and the good ole USA so much he had no choice but to call a woman who pissed him with her independent thinking a “fucking bitch."
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).