(CNN)On Wednesday morning, Florida Republican Rep. Ted Yoho took to the House floor to deliver an “apology.”
Why the quote marks, you ask? Read on! But first, here’s exactly what Yoho said (special thanks to CNN’s Ali Main for this transcript): “I stand before you this morning to address the strife I injected into the already contentious Congress. I have worked with many members in this chamber over the past four terms, members on both sides of the aisle, and each of you know I’m a man of my word, so let me take a moment to address this body. “I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York. It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful. Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language. 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 their misunderstanding. “As my colleagues know, I’m passionate about those affected by poverty. My wife Carolyn and I started out together at the age of 19 with nothing. We did odd jobs and we were on food stamps. I know the face of poverty, and for a time, it was mine. That is why I know people in this country can still, with all it’s faults, rise up and succeed and not be encouraged to break the law. I will commit to each of you that I will conduct myself from a place of passion and understanding that policy and political disagreement be vigorously debated with the knowledge that we approach the problems facing our nation with the betterment of the country in mind and the people we serve. I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.”Read MoreOK, so, let’s take a step back.At issue is a confrontation between Yoho and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the New York Democrat’s view on crime and policing on Monday. Here’s how CNN reported on the exchange:”According to an account published in The Hill, Yoho said ‘f**king bitch’ as he walked away.”Yoho’s office denies that he made the comment, telling CNN in a statement that he “made a brief comment to himself as he walked away summarizing what he believes her policies to be: bullshit.”Ocasio-Cortez seemed to confirm the version of events first reported in The Hill, however, when she tweeted this on Tuesday afternoon: “I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday.”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*tches’ get stuff done.”Plus, The Hill reporter who witnessed the back-and-forth stuck to his reporting and the original story despite Yoho’s denials.
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All of which brings us back to the House floor on Wednesday morning and Yoho’s attempt to clean up the mess he made earlier in the week.What’s so fascinating about Yoho’s statement is that he repeatedly seems to contradict himself and undermine his planned “apology”. To wit:* “I stand before you this morning to address the strife I injected into the already contentious Congress.” Ok, we are off to a good start!* “I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York. It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.” Yes, yes this is all going nicely!* “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 their misunderstanding.” Er, what? So, Yoho is saying he did not in fact say what AOC (and The Hill reporter) are saying he said to her. But that he is sorry if they were “misconstrued” that way. Here’s the thing: He either called her a “f**king bitch” or he didn’t. That term doesn’t leave a lot to be misconstrued. Or misunderstood.* “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.” Did someone ask Yoho to apologize for his “passion or for loving my God, my family and my country?” Did I miss that? And what does that have to do with whether he yelled an epithet about another member of Congress?Don’t insult the word “apology” by calling what Yoho did on Wednesday an apology. Apologies sound like this: I am sorry for what I did (or said). It was a mistake. I will do my absolute best to not let it happen again. That’s not even close to what Yoho offered up.