Congressman Michael Grimm ran into a bit of an inconvenient speed bump after “the Grimm reaper” lambasted a young reporter for going “off script” in his line of questioning during a post State of the Union Address interview. The young reporter decided to ask a few more questions that apparently agreed upon, and the Congressman didn’t like it. In an exchange that surely took the interviewer by surprise, the apparent message from the Congressman to would-be sneaky reporters was clear, “don’t mess with the Grimm reaper.” The delivery of the message however, harsh tones and all, was unfortunately caught on camera and aired on multiple news stations after the affair.
The young reporter in question, Michael Scotto, was treated to a face to face with the reaper, and told by Grimm that he would get “thrown off this (expletive) balcony” if he every did what he did again. The action which appears to have garnered the harsh response from Congressman Grimm, was a line of questioning apparently not agreed to beforehand. Scotto, after asking about the State of the Union Address, attempted to slide in a question about a standing investigation into Grimm’s campaign finances.
The “Grimm reaper” was less than pleased with the last minute question, and at first simply declined to answer and exited the interviewers camera frame. When Scotto finished addressing the camera however, Grimm, not donning the hooded robe and sickle, marched back into the frame and gave the young reporter a serious tongue lashing. The Congressman threw in a couple threats, told the reporter “you’re not man enough,” and moved on. Throughout the ordeal, Scotto attempted to plead his case, failingly, that he had asked a fair question. Clearly, as shown by the Congressman’s response, the “Grimm reaper” was not buying the act.
After the incident took place, Grimm, not originally one of the Republicans selected to respond to the State of the Union, had stolen the show. The exchange between the two surely eclipsed any of the Republican responses to the President’s speech. This perhaps is the unfortunate part, as Tea Party members and Republicans both are navigating interesting waters now that the President made clear in his speech his willingness to “go it alone” if necessary. The incident between Scotto and Grimm has unfortunately overshadowed the real issues at stake, at least for the segment of the public whose research stops at headlines.
When initial publicity began to spread concerning the Congressman’s response to Scotto, Grimm was somewhat indignant, insisting that the stunt was unprofessional and uncalled for. As the publicity surrounding the event mounted however, it appears that the Grimm reaper was moved to the point of issuing a formal apology. According to the now friendlier reaper himself, Scotto has graciously accepted the apology and the two apparently will even have lunch together. The Congressman appeared much more calm, and at times even a bit friendly when reminding the press that he had already issued a formal apology to Scotto, and that he was sorry that his emotions got the better of him during the exchange. When asked this time about the legitimacy of Scotto’s question, Grimm casually conceded that while the question was perhaps appropriate, the way that Scotto slid it into the interview could have been better handled.
Grimm has been accused of questionable behavior in the past, as some who have gone searching for skeletons have accused him of violent behavior, and losing his temper. And there also has been talk of an FBI investigation into campaign finance-related issues. The personal issues of the reaper however have received a disproportionate amount of attention compared with more important topics like his voting history or position on important issues. After all, in the world of politics, if one’s willing to wield a shovel long enough, nearly everybody may have a skeleton or two hidden away somewhere.
The unfortunate incident, for the moment, appears to have wound down. But, the message is clear to any would be reporters looking to sneak a fast on in on Michael Grimm, “don’t mess with the Grimm reaper.” Congressman Grimm has since apologized for his “overreaction” and Scotto has apparently graciously accepted. Perhaps now the public can focus on the Republican response to the issues highlighted in the President’s State of the Union Address.
Editorial By Daniel Worku