Rep. Michael Grimm of New York, under investigation for alleged campaign finance improprieties, threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony during an interview following President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
After being asked by NY1 reporter Michael Scotto about the investigation, Grimm replied, “That’s off-topic. This is only about president’s speech,” and walked off camera.
Scotto briefly concluded his report, and Grimm — assuming the broadcast was over — returned to admonish the reporter. The camera remained on, however. “Let me be clear to you: You ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f—— balcony,” Grimm threatened.
After a brief back-and-forth about the validity of the question, Grimm concluded, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
On Monday, Grimm released a statement saying he has apologized to Scotto and that they “will be scheduling a lunch soon.” Grimm noted that he “shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool.”
Earlier, he struck a different tone in another 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,” New York City’s lone Republican congressman said. “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.”
Grimm continued, “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.”
In a statement issued before Grimm’s apology, NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt described the congressman’s comments as “extremely disturbing.”
“The NY1 family is certainly alarmed and disappointed by the behavior of Representative Grimm. . . . This behavior is unacceptable,” he asserted.
Two of Grimm’s donors, including a former girlfriend, have been arrested in connection with the investigation. Grimm has not been charged, and he has denied any misconduct.