Note: This report contains derogatory and profane terms.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer is calling for Florida Republican Ted Yoho to be formally reprimanded on the chamber floor for derogatory words he allegedly said about New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as he left the Capitol steps Monday.
During the back-and-forth centered on Ocasio-Cortez's previous comments about the root cause of crime, Yoho called the freshman lawmaker “disgusting” and after they walked in separate directions, Yoho said “f------- b----,” The Hill reported Tuesday.
Yoho, when asked Tuesday if he would apologize to Ocasio-Cortez, said, “There’s nothing to apologize for.” He denied calling Ocasio-Cortez the derogatory term but declined to comment further on what transpired.
Hoyer told reporters that Yoho should be “sanctioned” and that the Florida lawmaker should apologize for his comments, which he called “despicable” and “unacceptable."
“Mr. Yoho owes not only the congresswoman an apology but also an apology on the floor of the House of Representatives,” the Maryland Democrat said.
“It was the act of a person who is the antithesis of John Lewis,” Hoyer added, referring to the late Georgia Democrat, a civil rights hero who died Friday and was considered the “conscience of Congress.”
Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter to Yoho’s alleged comments:
Other Democrats expressed their outrage as well:
The liberal advocacy group Demand Progress filed a complaint Tuesday with the House Ethics Committee, asking for an investigation into Yoho for “misogynistic” and “vulgar” language directed at Ocasio-Cortez.
House rules mandate that a member “shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.” Although referring to another member of Congress using vile language appears to be in violation of chamber rules, the Ethics panel has not historically examined matters of this nature.
For example, the House in January 2019 passed a disapproval resolution of Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, for racist remarks he made. The chamber passed a similar resolution of disapproval in 2009, publicly rebuking Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, for his “You lie” outburst during President Barack Obama’s address to Congress on health care.
The Ethics Committee is more likely to wade into matters that require an actual investigation, rather than a vulgar comment.
Tom Rust, a panel spokesman, did not comment.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said at a GOP press conference Tuesday afternoon that he would be meeting with Yoho.
“We think everybody should show respect to one another and not knowing what took place, I’ll have a discussion with him to see what happened,” the California Republican said.
Lindsey McPherson, Niels Lesniewski and Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.