Republican Congressman Michael Grimm Threatens to Break Reporter in Half


The State of the Union was Tuesday night! DC got its hair done and went to watch President Obama regale a captive nation with stories about meager but sustained economic growth and how Congress is basically the worst, but 2014 is a new year and the sun will come out tomorrow so turn that frown upside down, kiddo!

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) did not, in fact, turn his frown upside down. Instead, he threatened to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off a balcony after being asked about alleged campaign finance irregularities.

On TV.

You know, like you do.

It’s a bit hard to make out what the distinguished gentleman from Staten Island is saying to Scotto, but here are the key bits, courtesy of NY1:

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.”

Later, Grimm released a statement in which he failed to apologize, generally blamed the whole thing on the pesky unprofessional reporter, and sort of hinted towards more physical threats to come:

“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview in lieu of several other requests…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 certain I won’t be the last.”

Grimm, a former FBI agent, should learn two things from this episode:

1) Don’t threaten reporters with physical violence.

2) If you do threaten reporters with physical violence, don’t do it when the reporters’ camera crew is still filming B roll. You’ll look pretty unhinged!

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Grimm released a second, less-tone deaf statement.

“I was wrong. I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto, which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon. In the weeks and months ahead I’ll be working hard for my constituents on issues like food insurance that is so desperately need in my district post Sandy.”

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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