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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Among all of the Republican Party’s many responses to President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, none was more startling — or less helpful — than that of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY).

Grimm, a second-term congressman representing Staten Island, was discussing the president’s speech on camera with NY1’s Michael Scotto, when Scotto attempted to ask Grimm about the alleged campaign finance violations that have clouded his time in office. Grimm pointedly refused, saying “I’m not speaking to you off topic, this is only about the president,” then walked off camera.

But just a few moments later, things got heated when Grimm returned to confront the reporter:

“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony,” Grimm told Scotto.

When Scotto told Grimm that he had asked a “valid question,” Grimm shot back, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

Video of the confrontation went viral almost immediately, prompting a response from Grimm. But instead of apologizing, the Staten Island congressman released the following statement

I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests. The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union, but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview, because I did not have time to speak off topic. I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.

That Grimm would chastise Scotto for being disrespectful shortly after mocking the reporter for not being “man enough” and threatening to toss him off of a balcony may seem odd, but Grimm — who has previously earned headlines for swimming in the Sea of Galilee with some fellow House Republicans (at least one of whom was nude) and for allegedly having sex in the bathroom of a Brooklyn wine bar — has never been known for his tact.

This is not the first time that questions have been raised about Congressman Grimm’s temper. In 1999, Grimm — then an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation — reportedly brandished a gun at a New York nightclub in response to an altercation over a woman.

The latest incident is unlikely to help his already tenuous re-election hopes. Grimm, who is the only Republican representing New York City in Congress, has long been considered a top target for Democrats in 2014. His seemingly unending series of controversies reportedly has some Republicans considering other options (including Grimm’s equally scandal-ridden predecessor, Vito Fossella).

UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Grimm relented and offered an apology to Scotto, which the reporter accepted according to NY1.

“”I was wrong. I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto, which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon,” Grimm said in a written statement. “In the weeks and months ahead I’ll be working hard for my constituents on issues like flood insurance that is so desperately needed in my district post Sandy.”

Photo: House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans via Flickr

H/t: NY1

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • 4sanity4all

    Classy behavior, Rep. Grimm. Gee, you made everyone see you as an eminently reasonable man who could not possibly done any of the campaign fund things you were accused of doing. You got everyone on your side with your reasonable response. Wait…..

  • Lynda Groom

    I wonder if the representative is as upset about the scandal as he is about being called out?

    • Sand_Cat


    • sigrid28

      I thought Grimm might have staged this (perhaps not entirely on his own) to upstage the president’s address in the national media: If so, that worked. As an added bonus, this kind of behavior appeals to certain voters in the Republican base. He pulled it off without being arrested, as any other person threatening to kill another person within the Capitol might have been (especially a person of color). The reporter could still make a police report on which charges could be filed, and a civil suit could still be entered into over a life-threatening verbal assault. This would only add to Grimm’s problems following the law.

  • Steve Regis

    The guy sounds like a dirt bag, but I’m glad he didn’t apologize. The whole phony apology ritual is tedious and childish.

    • Lynda Groom

      He did apologize today.

    • stcroixcarp

      Public apologies may seem like a silly ritual, but they are a way of defusing tensions. Would you rather that silly confrontations end in duels where people get maimed and killed and feuds with endless revenge get started?

      • sigrid28

        I understand what you mean about the cathartic release of sincere apologies (unless it’s your cheatin’ spouse), but I wonder if we should go so far as to call what Representative Grimm initiated a “silly confrontation.” The press has been at fault of pressing celebrities to the brink. Consider the role of the pursuit of the press in the death of Princess Diana, though her driver was inebriated during his attempt to evade the European media. Celebrities who feel threatened by the press know the power of recorded information to make or ruin their careers. So we should grant Grimm the fact that what the media can do to him is not “silly.” While doing so, however, what he proposed to do to this reporter is not “silly” either. Grimm walks away after threatening to kill the reporter–twice–for no other reason than that he is a celebrity. Anyone else would have been arrested, and he could still be arrested if the reporter decided to press charges.

      • Bill Boltz

        Hmmmm……let me think about that……8)

      • Ford Truck

        I would much rather that people pay for what they say. Either by being charged with making terroristic threats, or by simply getting their asses handed to them. What he said and did is clearly an act of bullying – – did you notice the difference in size between the men? – – and what he did is deserving of a serious ass-kicking!!

        • stcroixcarp

          I see your point.

  • daniel bostdorf

    The bully got caught. Pure and simple. Very “grim” indeed.
    Threatening bodily harm gets most citizens arrested.

  • Budjob

    This jerk had better be very cautious about who he threatens because he is likely to get his ass handed to him!

  • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

    If a citizen threatened him with intense bodily harm, what would happen to them? Why is he allowed to act this way and have no cost to his behavior? Is Boehner and the gang going to sanction him for his “bully tactics”? What is really frightening, this man was given a gun twice on behalf of the American people.

  • Bill Boltz

    I would tell him not to bother working for his constituants…….he should dust off his resume. Wait no need for that…..everyone is aware of his “Qualifications”. If ever I need a bouncer at a strip club….he’s the man. Wait….that wouldn’t work either….he’d be too busy in the bathroom to mind the door.

  • doumor_99

    No shit he got caught that just verifies he guilt, lots of anger because he also got caught with his hand in the cookie jar! Wonder what he hasn’t been caught for yet?

  • This flying a-hole committed a crime, the crime of assault. He also threatened to commit the crime of battery & seeing what he said he threatened to kill the reporter.
    This piece of Republican shit belongs in the slammer.

  • mah101

    Well this guy certainly is in the wrong line of work. Perhaps he should look into repossessing cars, or maybe working for the Christie administration in New Jersey… I think he would be better suited for that.

    In all seriousness, that is thin skinned, unprofessional, and thuggish behavior not at all appropriate for any elected official. There was no provocation, there was no cause, this is simply a bully acting like a bully. He has no business in Congress.

  • johninPCFL

    Jesse Waters of Bill O’Reilly fame does the ambush interview all the time. I don’t recall a single episode of the Democrats he attacks and slanders ever thretening him.
    I wonder if ‘fair and balanced’ Bill will feature the confrontation on the show? Oh, wait. It’s faux news. What was I thinking…

  • Ford Truck

    The reporter, Michael Scotto, should NEVER have accepted his apology. I have no doubt the apology came ONLY because Grimm realized he had been caught on tape and his desire to throw Scotto off the balcony was a genuine physical threat. I only wish he would threaten me like that, I guarantee he wouldn’t do it again! I may be 64, but I still remember a lot of my Marine training!!