Rep. Michael Grimm, under investigation for campaign finance indiscretions, went a little nuts on a reporter following the State of the Union last night.
The reporter, NY1’s Mike Scotto, tried to ask about the charges that Grimm had a contributor illegally funnel money into his campaign when things went off the rails. First, Grimm walked off camera. Then he came back, with camera still running, just to insult and threaten Scotto. The exchange, according to NY1:
I’m not speaking to you off-topic, this is only about the president, said Grimm, before walking off camera. So Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances, Scotto said before tossing back to the station. But as the camera continued to roll, Grimm walked back up to Scotto and began speaking to him in a low voice. What? Scotto responded. I just wanted to ask you… Grimm: Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony. Scotto: Why? I just wanted to ask you… [[cross talk]] Grimm: If you ever do that to me again… Scotto: Why? Why? It’s a valid question. [[cross talk]] Grimm: No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.
Rep. Grimm released a statement to explain his actions – his main defense seems to be that he doesn’t like being asked prickly questions, which might be a problem for a sitting congressman:
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.
Politician facing investigation does something stupid on camera . . . New York still has a long way to go to catch up to Illinois, but nice effort.