A.O.C. Unleashes a Viral Condemnation of Sexism in Congress

It was the third straight day that the confrontation had consumed the Capitol. It began on Monday when Mr. Yoho approached Ms. Ocasio-Cortez on the Capitol steps and told her she was “disgusting” for suggesting that poverty was driving crime in New York City.

After a brief but tense exchange, The Hill newspaper said in an account later shared by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter, Mr. Yoho walked away from her, uttering the vulgar phrase.

In her tweet, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez embraced the insult, remarking, “But hey, ‘b*tches’ get stuff done.”

By Wednesday evening, the media-savvy Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had sprung into action to create a disruptive and viral event. Her aides emailed invitations asking her fellow lawmakers to join her on Thursday on the House floor, when she planned to discuss how she “was accosted and publicly ridiculed,” according to a copy of the invitation.

By Thursday morning, 13 Democratic women in the House and three men, including Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the Democratic majority leader, had turned up on the floor to speak for her. There were the three liberal women who with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez make up the so-called squad — Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — but also moderates like Representative Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez began by saying that she would have been willing to let the incident pass until she heard what Mr. Yoho called an apology. Mr. Yoho offered some words of contrition on Wednesday for the episode, but he declined to apologize to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for his language, denying that he had used the phrase and arguing that his passion stemmed from his concern about poverty.

A spokesman for Mr. Yoho said he used a barnyard epithet to describe her policies, not insult her.

“The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding,” Mr. Yoho said on the House floor. He concluded, “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my god, my family and my country.”



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