Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., denied allegations he “accosted” progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., after an encounter between the two on Capitol Hill was reported to have been tense and expletive-laden.
Yoho told “The Story” on Friday that he never called the Squad member “disgusting,” as was claimed, and that he did not call her a “f—ing b—h”.
The Republican said that when a reporter approached him after the encounter, his response of “no comment” wasn’t meant to belie anything suspicious either.
Yoho said he has wanted to engage constructively with Ocasio-Cortez for a long time on policy, and doubly felt the need to after she claimed that some of the increasing crime in her hometown of New York was due to “the fact people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent, so they go out and need to feed their child and don’t have any money, so they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”
“That was part of it, but it’s been a series of things. I can go into that, but I just asked her if we could have a minute of her time and asked for a question,” Yoho explained.
“I was coming down from voting in the Capitol and as I walked across … she was coming up the stairs and I asked her. Hey, do you have a minute and she goes, yeah,” he continued. “We never had a conversation before and I wanted to ask her about the policy that she was telling people was OK to shoplift if you are hungry — it went backwards from there.”
Host Martha MacCallum asked if the claims of “accosting” Ocasio-Cortez were true, and pressed him on the claim he swore at or at least about her.
“Did you call her disgusting? Did you suggest that she’s losing her mind? Did you use those words?” the host asked.
“No, everything was directed at policy and yeah, she thought it was right for people to go ahead and shoplift if you’re hungry, I said, ‘seriously, as many social programs and faith-based programs and all these food kitchens around, the best that you can do is to offer people in your district to go ahead and shoplift — while you’re calling at the same time to defund the police? Those are just absolutely the most fricken crazy policies you’ve ever had’ — and I said ‘your policies are disgusting’ and I turned around and walked away,” Yoho recounted.
When asked about using the four-letter F word, Yoho replied that he simply muttered to himself that Ocasio-Cortez’s comments to him were “such fricken B.S.”
Yoho continued, telling MacCallum that he continues to be bothered by Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about the urban unrest, in that morally permitting people to shoplift sets a bad example for children, and hurts the shopkeeper that himself is trying to make a living during hard economic times.
“She’s making hay out of this, she’s fundraising off of this, out in front of the Capitol wearing her COVID mask. Playing [music], making fun of this. Yet, she’s on the floor crying saying how bad this is but yet she’s out there saying the same thing. You know, it’s disingenuous.”
“This was strictly policy and those policies are bad for this nation,” said Yoho.
Ocasio-Cortez herself reacted to the encounter on Twitter:
“I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday,” she said. “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—–s” get stuff done.”
The Democratic congresswoman later gave a speech on the House floor in which she called out Yoho’s “abusive” language.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.