Yoho’s Apology Is The Right Wing Version Of ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’

Florida Man Is Only Really Sorry We Heard Him.

I watched Rep. Ted Yoho’s (R-Fla.) so-called “apology” for calling Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez…eh…I won’t repeat it here, but it rhymes with “ducking mitch.” It wasn’t much of an apology, but a justification for doing what he did. He appeared contrived and not at all magnanimous. It was obviously forced and he took the opportunity to instead make a case for why he had to do it.

If you don’t know the story – and we never would’ve known about it had it not been for a reporter who overheard it – Yoho, a retiring member of the far right House Freedom Caucus approached Ocasio-Cortez outside the U.S. Capitol and called her “disgusting” for comments she made earlier pinning New York City’s rising crime rate to high unemployment and social disorder related to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is right, but that’s for another post. AOC called his comments, and the fact that he accosted her in such a manner, “rude” and he called her…that name…right after.

Yoho, who represents Gainesville, Fla. in the House, went to the floor of the House of Representatives this week to apologize for the comments, but spent more time seemingly justifying his actions. He apologized “if anyone was offended,” but refused to apologize “for his passion” or for his love of God, family and country.

That’s not an apology, its a justification. No one asked him for apologize for his passion, or religion, or supposed love for family and country. The fact that he said this is disingenuous, as if calling a duly elected member of Congress a “fucking bitch” is somehow part of his religion and patriotism. Rep. Yoho believes being a Christian and American and a family man requires him to verbally abuse a 30-year old Latina colleague. That is the Republican worldview. What kind of worldview is this, and why are accepting it as a legitimate one?

Further, he explained that he didn’t make the remarks directly TO Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, as if that matters, and didn’t deny making them:

Rep. Yoho believes being a Christian and American and a family man requires him to verbally abuse a 30-year old Latina colleague. That is the Republican worldview.

“The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were constructed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding,” he said, basically admitted that he said them, but never meant for the congresswoman to hear them. Again, he is only sorry he got caught.

He went on to explain that he had a wife and daughters, so he is “cognizant of his language.”

Oh really? What does it tell us that Rep. Yoho said he would never use that kind of language around his wife and daughters, but he felt fine using it around Rep. Ocasio-Cortez? I’ll tell you what it proves; one one of the two things:

  • He have zero respect for his own wife and daughters and calls them names when they can’t hear him.
  • He doesn’t consider Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to be equal to his wife and daughters, worthy of the same respect
Rep. Ted Yoho takes his non-apology tour to Fox News Friday.

Neither option reflects well on Rep. Yoho.

But this is the reality many women, especially women of color, face. No matter what they achieve, or how they achieve it – both Yoho and Ocasio-Cortez got to where they are the same way, being voted in by 100,000+ people – they are still not seen or treated as equals. Any attempt to correct bad behavior only leads to a half-hearted apology and desperate clinging to faith, family and patriotism. It’s the same thing with every celebrity or politician who gets caught doing something bad and then “finds God” in a desperate attempt to repair his or her image. It’s eye-roll inducing.

It also shows how little Rep. Yoho thinks of the people of New York’s 14th Congressional District; that their choice doesn’t deserve the same respect his constituents’ choice does.

And of course Yoho has done what all bullies do when cornered; retreated to his safe space. He appeared on Fox News, where he whined that AOC is “making hay out of it” and was “on the floor crying,” as if he expected her to just accept hi half-hearted mealy-mouthed apology and shut up. Again, infantilizing a duly-elected representative in the United States government.

They are only as evil as we allow them to be.

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