After Threatening Local Reporter, Michael Grimm Apologizes for ‘Losing His Cool’
The morning after threatening to throw a local reporter off a balcony and “break [him] in half,” Rep. Michael G. Grimm sought to assure the Capitol Hill press corps that all was now well.
The New York Republican spoke to journalists as he left the House floor on Wednesday morning, explaining that NY 1 reporter Michael Scotto had accepted his apology and “we’re gonna go to lunch and put it all behind us.”
“There’s no excuse for it,” Grimm said, “and Michael Scotto was very gracious and he was gracious enough to accept my apology, so we put it past us and now I’ve got work to do.”
After a brief interview from the Capitol Rotunda following the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Scotto had attempted to tack on a question about the ongoing federal investigation on Grimm for alleged campaign finance fraud.
Grimm did not take kindly to the unexpected inquiry.
“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—ing balcony,” Grimm said during the exchange that was captured by NY1’s rolling camera . “You’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
The second-term lawmaker who represents Staten Island issued a statement after the fact, explaining that “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,” Grimm continued, “but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview.”
“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.”
On Wednesday, Grimm attempted to justify his behavior in different terms, saying that above all else he regretted his actions.
“I’m a human being and sometime your emotions get the better of you and the bottom line, though, is it shouldn’t happen, you shouldn’t lose your cool and that’s why I apologized,” said Grimm. “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you have to admit it.
“My constituents know I’m extremely passionate,” Grimm continued. “In my district, people were slammed by Superstorm Sandy. I have to go home and look people in the eye who have nothing, OK? They have lost everything. … They are almost completely out of hope and you know what they expect? They expect Michael Grimm to have their back. And that’s what I’m going for. I’m the guy that’s gonna stand up for those constituents, I’m gonna be relentless, and I’m very passionate about it. And unfortunately when you’re that type of person that has a lot of passion your emotions can get the better of you.”
Grimm also added that he was frustrated after a “long day” and he was “out of breath” from running to meet Scotto in the Rotunda. Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “Rep. Grimm has apologized, and the speaker believes that was appropriate.”
The Republican could still face repercussions for his actions. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and democratic PACs are already beginning to hammer Grimm over the incident, and the Ethics Committee might also take notice. There is also the question of whether he committed a crime in threatening someone with bodily harm.