Video: Ayanna Pressley responds to Ted Yoho’s ‘vulgar’ comments about AOC
Rep. Ayanna Pressley took to the House floor Thursday to condemn the “vulgar” comments by Rep. Ted Yoho about her fellow “squad” member, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Yoho, a Florida Republican, was overheard referring to Ocasio-Cortez as a “f—ing b—-,” shortly after confronting the New York Democrat on the Capitol steps Wednesday over her views on crime and policing.
Pressley responded after Ocasio-Cortez issued her own powerful floor speech Thursday rebuking Yoho for approaching and insulting her out of the blue. After the speech, Ocasio-Cortez thanked Pressley for her support.
Without mentioning Yoho by name, Pressley said the “blatant disrespect” was part of a general pattern of “painful” behavior and language toward woman.
“We are not on the House floor today because of just one callous incident,” the Massachusetts congresswoman said. “Unfortunately, what brings us to this moment are the structural and cultural conditions — and yes, the very men — that have normalized the marginalization of women and specifically women of color since this nation’s very inception.”
Pressley added that “patriarchy” was “very much at home in the halls of this powerful institution.”
As the first woman of color to represent Massachusetts in Congress, the Boston Democrat said that previous trailblazers “equipped us to take on a world that was built on contradictions and injustice.”
“I first set foot in this institution at the age of 19,” Pressley said. “My mother poured into me a sense of reverence for this institution, of the awesome power that it held. I walked through hallways — and still do — flanked by the statues of men that enslaved my ancestors, in a building built by my enslaved ancestors.”
But she also noted that Congress is changing.
“While there may still be some specters in this hallway set on upholding oppression and misogyny, I know that when my 12-year-old daughter walks through these hallways today, she sees my name embossed on a plaque outside the door and lit up on the voting board above this House floor, and she sees Tlaib, and Omar, and Chu, and Jayapal, and Escobar, and Trahan, and Underwood, ” Pressley said, referring to fellow recently elected Democratic congresswomen.
“Our very existence is proof that progress has been made,” she said. “And yet although in some instances we are better than we used to be, we are still not who we can be.”
Pressley then pivoted to address her daughter, Cora, and “all our daughters,” who she said are “powerful” and “limitless.”
“Your lived experiences, your kind heart, and your critical eye belong at every single table where decisions are being made,” she said.
Paraphrasing recent comments by Dr. William Barber, a North Carolina reverend and political activist, Pressley added the current movement for social justice calls for a new form of “reconstruction.”
“Let’s build the world that Cora and all girls and women deserve,” Pressley said. “And let us begin with this very institution.”
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