“If you ever do that to me again, I will throw you off this f…ing balcony.”
That was United States Representative Michael Grimm bluntly threatening NY-1 political reporter Michael Scotto.
After discussing Grimm’s reaction to the president’s State of the Union message, Scotto questioned the New York congressman about 2010 campaign violations. With that, Grimm abruptly ended the interview. However, immediately after Scotto finished his stand-up, Grimm walks back past the camera and can be heard physically threatening the reporter.
“Let me be clear to you,” Grimm said. “If you ever do that to me again, I will throw you off this f…ing balcony.”
“Why, why?” Scotto asked. “It’s a valid question.”
“No, no,” Grimm responded off camera but within range of a microphone, “you’re not man enough, not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy,” Grimm added.
After the video aired, the Staten Island representative called Scotto Wednesday morning and apologized.
“I overreacted,” Grimm said. And after the call, Grimm released a statement saying, “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. 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.”
Scotto said he believed Grimm was sincere.
Grimm, a former Marine, FBI undercover agent and two-term member of Congress, appears to have a habit of overreacting, at times, mimicking actor Jack Nicholson from the movie, A Few Good Men.
“During the 2010 primary,” The New York Times writes (Jan. 29), Michael Allegretti, his opponent, accused him of wearing combat ribbons he had not earned.
” ‘You sleep under a blanket of freedom that I helped provide. You should just say, ‘Thank you,’ Mr. Grimm said. ‘What I’ve done in my life, you see in the movies.’ ”
Immediately after the NY-1 interview, Grimm characterized his remarks in a statement:
“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY-1 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,” read a statement.
“Had Mr. Scotto made the same threat against Mr. Grimm,” The Times points out, “Mr. Scotto could have been charged with a federal crime.
“The general sense among Republicans in Washington was that as odious as Mr. Grimm’s rant was, it was more a campaign headache than a disqualifying offense. Others felt that what ultimately mattered was the outcome of the investigation into Mr. Grimm’s fund-raising during his 2010 campaign. This month, Diana K. Durand, one of his fund-raisers, was charged with illegally funneling more than $10,000 into the campaign. Investigators are also examining whether Mr. Grimm illegally solicited money from foreign donors.”
As of this writing, no charges have been filed against Grimm.
Nonetheless, the real “tell” for me is how quickly he reacted and threatened Scotto. That kind of reaction would appear to indicate that there may be some truth to allegations of impropriety. But, let’s wait for all the facts to come out before we make a judgment.
In the meantime, Congressman Grimm might try to mimic another Nicholson character from another movie, Anger Management — “Temper’s the one thing you can’t get rid of, by losing it.”