WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she “couldn’t have been prouder” of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for her eloquent speech on the House floor in response to Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), who accosted her at the Capitol and reportedly called her a “fucking bitch.”
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Pelosi was asked about President Donald Trump’s recent repeal of an Obama-era anti-segregation housing rule for suburban communities. The president nixed the rule in a pitch to “suburban housewives” as he flounders in the polls with suburban women voters.
Pelosi said the president’s move amounts to “bigotry, fearmongering, condescension and distortion” and then made the connection to Yoho’s verbal assault on Ocasio-Cortez.
“It’s actually sort of in the same vein of Mr. Yoho, and weren’t we proud of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez?” the House speaker said. “As a grandmother of two young granddaughters and a mother of four, during the course — I just want to say, ‘You go, congresswoman. You go, congresswoman.’ But it’s the same condescension and disrespect.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s speech went viral and has been described as the most important feminist speech in a generation. She said Yoho’s behavior highlights a culture of “impunity” that allows powerful men to make “dehumanizing” comments about women, even when they are colleagues.
She also knocked Yoho for his nonapology apology ― he said if people misconstrued his comments, he apologized for “their misunderstanding” ― and took exception to the way Yoho invoked his image as a family man.
“What Mr. Yoho did was give permission for men to use that language against his daughters,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “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.”
What was clear from Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks is that “what happened that day was his problem and continues to be his problem,” Pelosi said. “She’s not taking any insult from him in terms of any diminishment of competence that she has as to who she is.”
Pelosi added that Yoho may have thought “he had license to do that” to Ocasio-Cortez because Trump has used similar language about women throughout his life.
“That is well-known to people,” Pelosi said. “Perhaps [it is] accepted as something that passes for civilized in certain circles on the Republican side of the aisle.”