After delivering a moving speech on the House floor addressing insulting comments Rep. Ted Yoho reportedly launched at her earlier this week, parents are sharing what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's words mean to them.
On Tuesday, The Hill reported that Yoho called Ocasio-Cortez "disgusting" and a "f*cking b*tch" on the steps of the Capitol after the New York Democrat proposed that rates of poverty and unemployment worsened by COVID-19 had led to a "spike in crime" in New York City. A day later, Yoho denied that he used the sexist slur towards Ocasio-Cortez and apologized for his tone and the "abrupt manner" of their conversation, but also said he could not apologize for his "passion."
"Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I'm very cognizant of my language," Yoho said Wednesday. "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 the misunderstanding."
Ocasio-Cortez did not accept Yoho's apology. On Twitter, the congresswoman said the Florida Republican was "blaming others" with his response and on Thursday, she took to the House floor herself to share her full response on "the culture of misogyny that inspired [Yoho's] actions."
"I could not allow my nieces, I could not allow the little girls that I go home to, I could not allow victims of verbal abuse and, worse, to see that — to see that excuse and to see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology and to accept silence as a form of acceptance, I could not allow that to stand. Which is why I’m rising today to raise this point of personal privilege," Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor.
"Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters... I am someone's daughter too," Ocasio-Cortez continued. "My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho's disrespect on the floor of this house towards me on television, and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men."
"When you do that to any woman — what Mr. Yoho did was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters," the congresswoman said. "In using the language in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to say that is not acceptable."
Ocasio-Cortez's words were applauded by mothers and fathers all around the country. One mother of three daughters tweeted that the congresswoman is an "inspiration" for her children. "I just keep loving this over and over with tears in my eyes," she tweeted. "@AOC should never have to do this but I love her for standing up for herself and all women. An inspiration for my three daughters too! We all love her!"
Columnist and writer Connie Schultz, who has two children, tweeted that Ocasio-Cortez's speech wasn't just inspiring for her daughters, but every generation of her family, "Beautifully spoken. I watched it twice," she tweeted. "She was speaking for my mother, my aunts & my grandmothers as well as my daughters & granddaughters. Thank you AOC."
Hasoni Pratts, former national engagement director on Pete Buttigieg's campaign, tweeted that Ocasio-Cortez's speech showed what it means to "speak truth to power." "I had my youngest daughter watch this in its entirety, because she [deserves] to be treated with respect and can stand up to ANYONE - including a powerful man," she tweeted. "Thank you @AOC for showing my daughters what it means to speak truth to power."
One more mom tweeted her thanks to Ocasio-Cortez for teaching her daughters "how to stand up for themselves and for women and girls everywhere." "Your response left me in tears. Please continue to tear down hate & misogyny," she tweeted.
Dads are also thanking Ocasio-Cortez, including Fred Guttenberg, father of 14-year-old Parkland school shooting victim Jaime. "I often talk about how MY DAUGHTER Jaime did not put up with rude bullies. If Jaime were alive today, she would have been cheering you on," Guttenberg tweeted. "I know that she is looking down on you today with pride."
Another dad tweeted that the congresswoman is "one of a small handful of people I ask my son to aspire to be like. Please don't ever stop. America needs you."
Finally, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt tweeted that although his political beliefs do not align with Ocasio-Cortez, "she is the type of woman that I would point my daughters towards as a role model for grit, conviction, decency and grace." He added, "@TedYoho is the type of man I would point my son towards as an example of what not to be, a small, mean abusive bully."
Ocasio-Cortez's speech was an important and necessary moment in history, a moment when a woman called out a powerful man for using the fact that he's a father to daughters and his "passion" as a way to excuse inappropriate behavior.