In an incident witnessed by a reporter earlier this week, Florida Rep. Ted Yoho angrily confronted Ocasio-Cortez and called her names for asserting that higher joblessness and poverty could account for some crime increases.
Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman who has made her mark as one of Congress's most outspoken progressives, on the House floor on Thursday described the incident. It was about a woman refusing to accept words that, as she said, amount to "harassment" and "verbal abuse".
The remarkable outpouring, with female lawmakers saying they'd routinely encountered such treatment, came in an election year in which polls show women leaning decisively against Trump, who has a history of mocking women.
Over the course of the next hour, Democratic colleagues of Ocasio-Cortez, mostly women, stood to school their Republican colleagues.
Ocasio-Cortez is of Puerto Rican origin but was born and raised in New York City. She used about 10 minutes of that time, yielding the rest to several lawmakers who made short speeches in support of her. Those speaking up included the three other "squad" members - Reps.
Those speaking up included the three other "squad" members - Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of MA and Rashida Tlaib of MI.
No Republicans spoke on the House floor.
Mr Yoho denies saying the slur and has called for civility.
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She said the comments were "not deeply hurtful or piercing", because she has "tossed men out of bars that have used language like Mr. Yoho's". "I can not apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country", Yoho said. "I also think when someone apologizes, they should be forgiven", he said. "But that does not mean we should be disrespectful", he said. They said they have asked to speak to him "before we determine any further action".
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. "I can tell you that firsthand, they've called me names for at least at least 20 years of leadership, 18 years of leadership", Pelosi said of Republicans.
"Yoho is disgusting and I agree his apology is borderline absurd especially when you are bringing in your love of country", she added.
The House floor Thursday morning was filled with Democrats standing up for one of their own.
AOC began her speech by noting that women everywhere have "had to deal with this, in some form, some way, some shape, at some point in our lives ... this is not new, and that is the problem". "He called me disgusting. Okay? There's your - the hypocrisy and the vileness of it", Joy Behar said of Yoho's statement following the incident. "I will not do that myself", Ocasio-Cortez continued.
Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Yoho's apology. "Having a wife does not make a decent man".
"A daughter does not make a man decent. And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize", she said. "He apologizes, and genuinely, to fix and acknowledge the harm done, so that we can all move on".
Ms Ocasio-Cortez's comments were the latest in an escalating feud that started on Monday, when "The Hill" newspaper said that one of its reporters overheard Mr Yoho's comments. "I watched the majority leader accept his apology", the California Republican said.
She also recalled that past year, Mr Trump said she and three colleagues on the "squad" of progressive Democratic women of colour should "go back" to their home countries - even though all but one were born in the U.S. and all are American citizens. Because our collective potential as a nation can be unlocked when we're not so consumed with worry about how we're going to secure our most basic needs, like a doctor's visit or an affordable place to live.