After President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) threatened to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off the balcony and “break him in half” for wanting to ask a question about allegations of wrongdoing concerning Grimm’s campaign finances.
During the interview Grimm refused to let Scotto ask his question, saying it was “off-topic.” But afterwards, while Scotto was wrapping up his report Grimm returned.
”Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f***ing balcony,” said Grimm. He then told Scotto he would break him in half, “like a boy.”
Scotto appeared on NBC’s “Today” show as well as CNN’s “New Day” this morning to talk about the confrontation.
Grimm issued a statement about the incident.
“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.”
Social media has not been kind to the Congressman from Staten Island. One of the comments on Grimm’s official facebook page read, “While I’m not a member of your district, I feel that you nonetheless represent me as a veteran and as an elected member of our House of Representatives. Your actions have brought disgrace to yourself, your constituents, and our House of Representatives. You epitomize all that is wrong with our current state of politics in Washington.”
Below is a tweet from NY1’s political director Bob Hardt:
(1/3) Statement from me: ““It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters – let alone a U.S. Congressman.”
— Bob Hardt (@Bobmagic01) January 29, 2014
Rep. Grimm has now made it impossible for reporters NOT to ask him about his campaign finance problems. Not a smart move. — Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 29, 2014
>Update: Grimm has apologized to Scotto.