(RNS) — Bread for the World, a prominent Christian advocacy group for which Florida Rep. Ted Yoho serves as a board member, said the Republican lawmaker’s recent behavior toward Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not reflective of the “respect and compassion that Jesus calls on us to exhibit every day.”
“Bread for the World is deeply concerned about Rep. Ted Yoho’s verbal attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and what we and others perceive to be his non-apology,” read a statement provided to Religion News Service on Thursday (July 23) by Christopher Ford, a spokesperson for Bread for the World.
“Before we determine any further action, we have reached out to his office and have sought an opportunity to speak with him about the incident,” the statement read.
Yoho made headlines this week when The Hill reported that he told Ocasio-Cortez she was “disgusting” for suggesting that poverty and unemployment were factors in a crime increase in New York City during COVID-19.
“You are out of your freaking mind,” Yoho told her, according to The Hill.
Ocasio-Cortez responded by telling him he was being “rude.”
The confrontation happened outside the Capitol and when the two parted ways, Yoho was heard using a sexist slur to describe her, The Hill reported.
Yoho on Wednesday apologized but denied using the slur.
“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language,” Yoho said. “The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleague, and if they were construed that way I apologize for their misunderstanding.”
Yoho also touched on his experiences of poverty and being on food stamps. That’s why, Yoho said, he knows people can “rise up and succeed and not be encouraged to break the law.”
Yoho concluded his remarks, saying: “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.”
In response, Ocasio-Cortez said she didn’t need his apology and said Yoho did indeed call her the slur. Ocasio-Cortez added that Yoho’s comments are not new and that she’s encountered this type of language many times in her life.
“That is the problem,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women and an entire structure of power that supports that,” she said.
Bread for the World is known in Washington for galvanizing religious groups to protect federal policies that help the impoverished. The group has fought to stop proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, and pushed for more flexibility allowing the government to provide aid for nations in need.