Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, whose Senate campaign is shuddering under allegations that he beat his ex-wife, on Tuesday threatened a reporter who asked him for his side of the story, according to two videos.
“I’m hoping somebody comes and arrests you,” Grayson told Politico reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere at an event — hosted by Politico — at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
When Dovere stood in front of Grayson, blocking his path to the elevators, Grayson put his hand on the reporter’s upper arm, videos of the exchange show.
“I think you need to listen to me when you tell me that you are getting in my way,” Grayson said. Seconds later, the Florida lawmaker accused Dovere of assaulting him, according to videos recorded by Politico and Mother Jones reporters.
“I’m sorry, you pushed me,” Grayson said.
Dovere responded that the news organization had recorded the altercation.
“That’s a good thing,” Grayson said. “I’ll be handing that over to the Capitol Police, my friend.”
With that, the congressman retreated to the closing elevator doors.
A spokesman for Grayson said that the congressman had told Politico to reach out to his staff for comment, but the reporter blocked his exit and “continued to harass the congressman.”
“I’m not aware of anyone reaching out to the Capitol police, but will circle back if I hear otherwise,” said spokesman David Damron.
Grayson had become visibly agitated when Dovere asked him to explain allegations from the congressman’s ex-wife Lolita Grayson that she was the victim of two decades of domestic abuse at Grayson’s hands.
Those allegations, along with corresponding police reports, were first reported by Politico on Tuesday, sending shock waves through Grayson’s campaign for the Senate seat occupied by Marco Rubio and prompting two liberal groups to withdraw their endorsements. Grayson has vehemently denied the allegations.
Grayson, newly married to House candidate Dena Grayson, was already considered the underdog in the Democratic primary against Rep. Patrick Murphy. He had tried to recast his reputation as a hothead with a history of making inflammatory remarks by branding himself “a senator with guts .” The video-taped altercation is bound to complicate that effort.
Alan Grayson showed up at a Politico event in Philly…and then threatened to get a Politico reporter arrested pic.twitter.com/COUQX9GQss
— Patrick Caldwell (@patcaldwell) July 26, 2016