New York Congressman Michael Grimm may already be in the middle of some messy campaign finance accusations, but a new chapter in his saga was added last night when he violently threatened to attack a reporter. Grimm’s latest episode saw a serious of ballistic and angry threats uttered against NY1 reporter Michael Scotto. It goes without saying that these recent developments aren’t doing Grimm any political favors.
Following the President’s State of the Union address, reporters were eagerly waiting to get reactions from politicians who were present for the speech. One such politician was Grimm, and he agreed to let NY1 take his first interview.
Upon leaving the address, Grimm met with Scotto to conduct a fairly standard interview. The Republican Congressman answered a few questions relating to President Obama’s address, and the entire interview was routine right up until the very end.
Scotto proceeded to ask one final question in closing about the Congressman’s campaign finance allegations, which clearly irritates the Congressman. Grimm refused to answer to the allegations or to respond to the question in the interview, and he left in a huff.
Scotto made his closing remarks and gave the lead back to the station, and it is at this point that Michael Grimm goes ballistic. Grimm returned to confront the reporter face to face and give Scotto a piece of his mind. Though it was off air, the camera was still running and caught the whole ordeal. Angrily, Grimm threatened Scotto with physical violence multiple times, all the while interjecting obscenities.
And his threats were not the usual “I’ll punch you in the face,” or “I’ll beat you up.” No, Grimm is a far more colorful individual. Instead, the embattled New York Representative threatened to throw Scotto off of a balcony and break him in half “like a boy,” as he remarked.
Though it is to be doubted that Grimm truly broke any male children in half in the past, his remarks are nonetheless chilling. Also, it has given credence to some of his critics as it adds to the narrative that he may be too volatile to properly serve his constituents.
From Grimm’s perspective though, Scotto started it. Grimm claims that he went out of his way to do the interview with NY1 on the grounds that he would respond only to questions relating to the State of the Union address. Having already been in a rush, Grimm argues that Scotto’s questions were beyond the bounds of what was agreed to and it was that breach of agreement that triggered his torrent. That being said, it is clear that such an excuse is simply not ample justification for threatening to break someone in half and throw them off of a balcony, and Grimm is reported to have apologized over the phone to Scotto.
Although this entire episode is surprising, it is not entirely unusual for political figures to make a their own bad situation worse by going after the press. Anthony Weiner infamously mocked an innocent reporter’s accent for no other reason than having an off day. And then there are the several flavors of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s off kilter responses to the media. In the end though, it goes without saying to assert that Michael Grimm’s ballistic off air remarks are some of the more intense comments from political figures to members of the media.
By Brett Byers-Lane