Not everyone was in high spirits after U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his state of the union address last night, and at least one congressman took out his aggression on an unsuspecting television reporter.
An interview between NY1 reporter Michael Scotto and Staten Island Republican Rep. Michael Grimm ended awkwardly, to say the least, when Grimm was caught on video verbally threatening Scotto.
A video posted by the Associated Press shows Scotto attempting to ask Grimm about allegations about a campaign finance investigation. Earlier this week, a fundraiser for Grimm was arrested and charged with illegally providing $10,000 to Grimm’s 2010 campaign.
One suspects Grimm had been less than forthcoming to speak on the issue, and Scotto apparently took the opportunity to question him on it.
Grimm did not approve of the line of questioning and ended the interview. “I’m not talking about anything that’s off-topic, this is only about the president,” he said, before walking away. He came back a short time later and confronted Scotto.
“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—ing balcony,” Grimm can be heard saying.
Scotto can be heard defending himself and saying it was a "valid question."
Grimm responds, "No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy."
A statement later released by Grimm struck a defiant tone over the issue, suggesting the reporter stepped out of line.
Via the Daily Beast, the statement reads in full:
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.
A statement from NY1's political director Bob Hardt called the comments disturbing.
“It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters – let alone a U.S. Congressman. The NY1 family is certainly alarmed and disappointed by the behavior of Representative Grimm and demands a full apology from him. This behavior is unacceptable,” the statement reads.
Grimm is a former FBI agent, and served in the Persian Gulf War as a marine, who was first elected in 2010. So if he wants to be intimidating, he certainly knows how to do it.
Threatening to throw a person over the balcony and/or break them in half like a little boy seems like it may be taking a personal grudge too far. One hopes the next member of Congress to tell off a reporter can come up with a more appropriate to do it.
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